With organised fireworks displays cancelled due to pandemic restrictions, the risk of serious injuries is greater than ever this year. It’s a combination of more people holding displays at home, often for the very first time, and the availability of discounted fireworks produced for cancelled events.

Here we offer our top tips for buying fireworks safely and organising a safe display at home.

Work with parents? Visit our resources hub for more safety advice to share.

Know your categories

Fireworks are split into categories based on how hazardous they are, how loud, how long a fuse delay they have and how much distance you need to leave for standing and for debris.  

They range from category 1 to category 4:

  • Category 1 are indoor fireworks.

  • Category 2 fireworks are suited to family back gardens.

  • Category 3 fireworks require a minimum safety distance of 25 meters – far bigger than the average family back garden! While non-professionals can buy them, they are designed for large displays.

  • Category 4 are for professional use only.

So it’s really important to know what you are buying.  When families are so squeezed financially, it’s easy to be lured in by heavily-discounted fireworks. But no family wants to find themselves standing too close to a category 3 or 4 firework!

Top tips for buying safely

Our advice for picking a safer way through the dizzying array of fireworks available to buy is:

  • Go to reputable retailers and avoid pop-up shops.

  • Only buy fireworks marked with safety standards (EN 15947 or CE Mark).

  • When buying online, look for companies who offer helpful advice about what category of firework to buy. If the seller doesn’t list fireworks categories, find one who does.

  • Take care buying from online marketplaces. Contrary to what many of us think, they are not responsible for the safety of the products they sell.

  • Category 2 fireworks are the safest for normal family back gardens, so look out for these.

Tips for your fireworks display

If you are sure you want to do it yourself this year, here are some essential safety tips:

  • Children do need careful supervision. Have a marker, like a rope, for the children to stand behind at a safe distance from the display.

  • If the children are dressing up, make sure the costumes have a CE mark and keep them away from flames, sparklers and fireworks.

  • Store fireworks in a metal box until you are ready to use them.

  • Use a torch – rather than a naked flame – to read the instructions.

  • To light a firework, hold it at arm’s length and light it with a taper or firework lighter.

  • Don’t go back to a firework once it has been lit. Sometimes they can be very slow to get started and may take you by surprise.

  • It’s best to be fully in control when you’re lighting fireworks. Avoiding alcohol until you’ve set them all off is the safest option.

  • Never throw spent fireworks onto a bonfire.

  • The safest place for a bonfire is at least 18 metres (60 ft) away from the house and surrounding trees and hedges, fences or sheds.

  • When you’re clearing up spent fireworks after the display, make sure anyone who is helping uses tongs or gloves to avoid burning themselves.

Firework-free fireworks night

If you’re not sure you want to organise your own fireworks display, read our inspiration for a fun-filled but firework-free fireworks night.


More safety tips

Keep in touch for more safety tips www.facebook.com/ChildAccidentPreventionTrust

For more advice download the free leaflet from the Office of Product Safety and Standards.

Work with parents? Visit our resources hub for more safety advice to share.