Firework safety: Tips to help you and your family stay safe on Bonfire Night

Planning on taking the kids to see the local fireworks display or going to a friend's for a smaller, private event? Here are our top tips to make sure everyone stays safe, warm and happy!

firework safety
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bonfire night is one of the most anticipated night of the year for adults and children alike. But when soaking up the magic of fireworks, you still need to be aware of firework safety.

Firework safety is important to think about when you go to any firework displays, but it's no reason to miss out on the magic of bonfire night.

The smell of the burning bonfire, the glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets, the hot dogs and toffee apples and the beautiful light displays against the black sky? It's a really fun night out for kids - just make sure you follow our guide on firework safety and you'll have a brilliant and safe evening out!

You'll be spending a lot of time outside, so make sure everyone's dressed for the occasion. Jumpers for kids, warm coats, boots, thick socks, hats and gloves are essential for keeping the family warm! The last thing you want to hear when you've just arrived is: 'Mum, I'm cold!' Don't forget to take a brolly too, just in case!

Make sure your kids stay a safe distance away from the bonfire. Some public events put up firework safety barriers around the bonfire, but at others you can get very close. It's tempting to warm your hands near the flames, but don't forget bonfires spit and bits of wood, sparks, or bits of the Guy could float down and catch alight on clothes.

firework safety

Credit: Getty

Kids can get hungry in the fresh air, particularly if they're being allowed to stay up past their usual bedtime for the special occasion. Take along snacks like sausage rolls and treats like nutty toffee apples.

Staying at home this year? Take a look at our delicious Bonfire Night recipes to cook up and enjoy at home instead.

For more information on firework safety, take a look at the RoSPA Guide to firework safety.

Firework safety

Young people should watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance. Only adults should deal with firework displays and the lighting of fireworks. They should also take care of the safe disposal of fireworks once they've been used.

  • Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary.
  • Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back.
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
  • Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
  • Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
  • Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.

Safety rules for sparklers

Sparklers are often viewed as being harmless, but they do burn at fierce temperatures. Sparklers should not be given to anyone under the age of 5. To a young child, the heat from a sparkler is equivalent to the heat from a welding torch.

  • Never give them to young children under 5.
  • Always wear gloves with sparklers, preferably leather ones.
  • Hold it at arm's length while an adult lights it for you.
  • Never wave it about near someone else as you could burn them.
  • Never hold a baby in your arms when you are holding a sparkler.
  • When the sparkler has finished, put it into a bucket of cold water straight away and leave it there.

RoSPA Guide to firework safety, Safety Education, Autumn/Winter 1995

firework safety

Credit: Getty

Fireworks safety for pets

Animals can get very frightened and distressed by fireworks. Here's some advice from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on how to keep them happy and comfortable:

  • Make sure your pet has a collar with an ID tag, or is microchipped, so that if they do run away they can be identified.
  • Keep your pet indoors, but don't shut them in confined areas as they could hurt themselves.
  • If they have a favourite place, make sure they have access to that. Drape a blanket over a table for a dog to hide underneath, or place a box on top of a wardrobe for a cat to hide in.
  • Flashes can also upset pets so draw your curtains. Keep some rooms light and some dark so your pet can choose where he feels safest.
  • Turn on a radio or the TV to mask the sounds of fireworks.
  • Avoid letting pets out or walking dogs when fireworks might be let off.
  • Try to act normally. If we see our pets are upset our natural response is to comfort them, but by doing this our pets assume we are also worried so it makes them more upset!

Find the best firework displays near you!

Can't find your favourite local fireworks in the list? Or perhaps there's a fabulous fireworks night you want to shout about? Put your thoughts and ideas in the comment box below!

Lauren Hughes

Lauren is a senior content editor covering everything from the latest royal news to fashion, beauty and health content. Lauren graduated from her masters in magazine journalism in 2011, quickly making the transition over to digital and has never looked back. From getting out a breaking news story to penning an in-depth feature, she loves the variety of writing for digital platforms.