Watching fireworks is great fun. But burns from fireworks can be devastating – and happen very easily if you don’t take the correct safety precautions.

  • Over 500 children under 16 are rushed to A&E in the four weeks surrounding bonfire night.
  • Many more boys than girls are injured by fireworks – especially boys aged 12 to 15.
  • The most common injuries are to hands, followed by the eyes and face.

Most injuries happen at family bonfire parties or private displays. Understanding the dangers of fireworks can prevent injuries and in some cases save lives.

Firework safety – the basics

  • Make sure children stand at a safe distance from the bonfire.
  • Keep everyone well back from the display.
  • Never return to a lit firework.
  • Never throw fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed metal box.
  • Always follow the instructions when using fireworks.

Did you know: A rocket can reach speeds of 150mph.

Sparkler safety

Sparklers are not ‘fireworks lite’ – A sparkler can reach a temperature of up to 2,000 degrees Celsius – 20 times the boiling point of water. And three sparklers burning together generate the same heat as a blowtorch!

  • Always hold sparklers at arm’s length and wear gloves when handling them.
  • Don’t hold babies and young children while you’re holding a sparkler – they can reach out unexpectedly and grab at them.
  • Don’t give sparklers to children under 5. They’re too young to hold them safely and don’t understand why they might be dangerous.
  • Older children can be trusted with sparklers, but need supervision. Teach them not to wave sparklers near anyone else or run while holding them.
  • Once sparklers are out, make sure you put them in a bucket of water.

First aid

Understanding how to treat burns while waiting for an ambulance can prevent infection and minimise the severity of injuries.Visit NHS Choices for first aid advice for burns.

More information

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service website contains safety advice for bonfires and fireworks, a downloadable leaflet and a range of videos with tips from Fireman Sam to help keep families safe on Bonfire Night.

You can find more information about fireworks on NHS Choices. There’s a guide to buying fireworks, a checklist to help you plan a safe display, a video showing how to handle fireworks safely and information on the dangers of misusing fireworks.

Scottish Burned Children’s Club runs a campaign on firework safety and provides display materials to help keep children safe.

If you work with children, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has a range of teaching resources for different ages/key stages.