Firework Safety

“I wouldn’t want another family to have to go through what we have. When I think how relatively minor her burns are, and how much pain she has been through, it’s terrifying.” Maisie’s mother

Fireworks display at home? In the excitement, it’s easy to forget some safety essentials. Here we share our advice on how to make it a day to remember for all the right reasons.

Safe displays

  • Children can get hugely excited, running around the garden waiting for the fireworks to start. But you can’t have eyes in the back of your head. So have a marker, like a rope, for them to stand behind at a safe distance from the display.

  • If you can, encourage children to leave their dressing up clothes indoors. That way, you can avoid loose clothing that may catch fire.

  • If children are dressing up, make sure the costumes have a CE mark and keep them well 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. If you get a chance, read the instructions indoors so you have a chance to get familiar with them.

  • To light a firework, hold it at arm’s length and light it with a taper or firework lighter. Don’t be tempted to use your lighter. There’s a reason the taper keeps you at a distance!

  • 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, blowing up in your face.

  • 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 used fireworks onto a bonfire in case they still have gunpowder left in them.

  • 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.

Sparkler safety

  • Sparklers burn at a very high temperature (as hot as 1600°C, 16 times the boiling point of water) so need treating with caution.

  • Wear gloves when holding a sparkler, and keep it at arm’s length, as sparks can fly!

  • Only hold one sparkler at a time.

  • Don’t hold a baby or young child while you’re holding a sparkler – they can reach out unexpectedly and grab at it.

  • The official advice is: 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.

  • But it can be hard to say no, if it’s what all your family and friends do. Trust your judgement about what your child is capable of. You can use our guide to teach your little one some safety basics.

  • Older children can be trusted with sparklers, but you’ll need to keep an eye on them.

  • Teach children not to wave sparklers near anyone else or run around while holding them.

  • Once sparklers are out, put them in a bucket of water as they can stay very hot

More information on firework safety

Find out how to buy fireworks safely and start teaching young children how to stay safe.

Hear what can go wrong and find out what to do in an emergency, including how to react if clothes catch fire and first aid for burns.

Download and share a free firework safety leaflet and social media assets.