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by Katie Hodgkins

Keeping Kids Safe & Happy on Bonfire Night!

Happy Bonfire Night, Mummies and Daddies! Or, Happy Guy Fawkes Night, if that’s what you call it.

If you’re planning on celebrating at home, or even going to a public display tonight and taking the children, this quick guide could be a useful read to keep everyone safe. Fireworks are loud, explosive and ultimately dangerous, as are bonfires, so it’s important to keep safety in mind as well as keeping little ones calm.

Firework Burn And Injury Prevention

With fireworks and bonfires, the obvious hazard is burns. Prevention is key and means sticking to guidelines to avoid injuries. It’s surprising how many people get caught up in the festivities and forget to follow the basics to stay safe.

Basic Child or Baby Bonfire And Firework Safety

  • Only buy fireworks with the BS7114 kitemark.
  • Follow the instructions on the firework box; if it states to stand 8 metres away when spectating, follow these instructions!
  • Keep small children back and if you know they’re likely to run, keep them on reins or in a buggy. This is a big one for me as my two year old is a livewire!
  • The same applies for bonfires; if at an organised event, listen to the event organisers and keep back from the fire.
  • If in charge of children, avoid being under the influence of alcohol as this can dull your senses and reflexes, which isn’t great around fire and explosives.
  • Don’t build a bonfire too high as this can lead to parts falling on spectators.
  • Never, ever light a firework with petrol or flammable liquid. You’d think that this is plain common sense… sadly not!
  • Ensure your bonfire or firework display isn’t too close to fences, shrubbery, buildings etc.

Sparklers and Kids

  • Supervise children with child-friendly sparklers – ensure they are wearing gloves, and smaller children should be assisted by a responsible adult.
  • Never give a sparkler to a child under 5; they can watch and enjoy at a safe distance!
  • Ensure there is a bucket of water close by to drop sparklers into immediately. This stops curious children picking up the molten hot remnants. Keep a hosepipe on hand for emergencies too.

What To Do If A Firework Fails

  • If a firework has been lit but hasn’t gone off, do not let anyone near it, particularly children. Leave removing the firework until end of the night, remain out of the danger zone by continuing your display a safe distance away. Fully submerge the dud firework in water overnight. It isn’t legal to dump it into a pond, lake, river etc. It can be taken to a landfill or placed with your normal rubbish the next morning, if fully soaked.

To make the above child even safer, it’s recommended they wear a pair of gloves.

What To Do If Your Child Gets Burned

We’re big supporters of St John Ambulance for their first aid advice. You can download a basic guide to treating burns here, and this video is a superb resource for treatment guidance.

If your little one is unlucky enough to sustain any other injuries, the St John First Aid for Parents resource is very helpful. Never hesitate to call 111 or 999 if you feel your child’s injury is serious.

St John Ambulance Burn Treatment Advice

What To Do If Your Child is Afraid of Fireworks

It’s very common for children to be a little nervous of fireworks and bonfires – the noise, the heat, it can all get a bit much! These tips could really help…

  • Invest in a pair of ear defenders. If you’ve left it a bit late, most chemists sell ear plugs – ear muffs could also help dull the loud noises.
  • Get them prepared! Sit them down and explain (if they’re able to understand) what the fireworks are and that it’s going to be fun, not bad! A practice run is always a good idea if you’re able.
  • Stay close and reassure your little one that you’re there to help them enjoy the night.
  • Focus on the nice aspects; the beautiful colours, the sparkles, how high the fireworks reach in the night sky…
  • If going to a public display, stay on the periphery so that your child doesn’t feel trapped by the crowds. Plan a way of leaving discreetly as soon as you arrive.
  • A back up plan at home is always a very smart move if going to a public display goes awry. Grab a packet of sparklers and a cheap family pack of fireworks just in case!

If Your Child Panics At the Noise of Fireworks..

  • Gently soothe and reassure – move to a quieter spot if possible (this is why being on the periphery of the crowds at a public display is a good idea), or move indoors to watch from a window if at home.
  • Wrap them up in a cuddly blanket and hug/hold during the fireworks to give them added security.
  • If your little one is really inconsolable, make a discreet but swift exit and don’t make a big deal out of it. It may be annoying if you’ve gone to a lot of effort and/or expense to attend, but children are learning and are vulnerable to many things that we no longer find scary.

We hope that you all have a safe, fun Bonfire Night – love from Team BBY! Xx

Katie Hodgkins Image
I'm Katie, and I'm a mama, wife, and freelance content creator for Bump, Baby & You. I also help to run our thriving online community over in our Facebook support group, as well as volunteering for my local branch of the National Childbirth Trust. I'm a busy bee and enjoy keeping active, cooking, writing, and fun days out with my little family. My special topics of interest are... autism (as me and my son are both autistic), science, all things parenting and pregnancy related, and The Handmaids Tale!
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