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 can be unpredictable and things can sometimes go wrong. Maisie’s mum shares her story and offers a warning to other parents.

“Instead of going up, the rocket flew horizontally across the field and everyone started screaming. It was only as it exploded and Maisie’s scarf caught fire did it become apparent the flare had become caught in her clothing.”

It was bonfire night 2016 and Maisie’s parents had been planning a visit to a professional display.

But when her sister took poorly, they decided on a display in the field behind their home, using a box of fireworks bought from a local shop.

Despite taking all the necessary safety precautions, things still went wrong, as Maisie’s mum explains:

“My mum, Maisie and myself stood ten metres away - twice the recommended ‘buffer zone’– alongside her brother and sister and waited for the fireworks to start.
“The firework was one that sent small flares into the air. The first four went up one after the other. The fifth flare, instead of going up, flew horizontally across the field and everyone started screaming.
“It was only as it exploded and Maisie’s scarf caught fire did it become apparent the flare had become caught in her clothing.”

Four-year-old Maisie suffered full thickness burns. She had to stay in hospital for a week undergoing repeated surgery. Some of the treatments to help the burns heal made her scream in pain.

On the second night in hospital, Maisie developed a severe temperature. The doctor told her mum that the burns wouldn’t kill her but an infection could.

Fortunately, little Maisie recovered well and was eventually able to go back to school. But the scars remain and mum Stephanie’s message is clear:

“I wanted to tell Maisie’s story so if anyone considers having fireworks at home to think again. 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.”

If you’re in two minds about doing your own fireworks at home, follow your instincts. If you’re not happy with the risk of a home display, find out if there are local displays you can go to instead.

Many thanks to Maisie’s mum Stephanie and to the Children’s Burn Trust for allowing us to use this case study. You can read it in full here.


More information on firework safety

Find out how to buy fireworks safely and read our top tips for a safe firework display at home.

Start teaching young children how to stay safe.

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.