While fireworks can be great fun, they can be dangerous if not used properly. During the bonfire season, most firework injuries treated at emergency departments happen at informal private displays. Over half of those requiring treatment are children.
Rockets are responsible for the majority of serious eye and hand injuries, however sparklers, fountains and firecrackers are also frequent sources of injury.
David McGill, Consultant Plastic and Burn Surgeon, said:
“We see a rise in burn injuries around Bonfire Night unfortunately, and I’ve seen firework injuries in both adults and children.
“Children are frequently burned with sparklers. There’s a misunderstanding of how hot sparklers can get – they can cause severe burns to fingers and hands, or catch clothing alight. These injuries can be life changing for patients.
“To minimise the risks to you and your family, a public arranged event would be by far the safest way to view fireworks.”
This Bonfire Night make sure you know the law and rules around the use of fireworks, which are in place to reduce incidents and injury:
- It is illegal to buy, attempt to buy, give or in any way make a firework available to someone under the age of 18, other than category F1 fireworks.
- It is illegal to set fireworks off before 6pm and after 11pm. This extends to midnight on 5th November and 1am on Hogmanay, Chinese New Year and Diwali.
- It is illegal to set fireworks off in the street or public park (unless an organised display)
It’s safer to celebrate at an organised event if there’s one in your area, but if you’re planning a private display at home, make sure you know how to keep you and your loved ones safe:
- Keep a safe distance.
- Follow the Firework Code and read instructions before use.
- Not all fireworks are suitable for private use. It depends on the size of your garden. Visit firescotland.gov.uk for more safety advice and to download our leaflet.
- It’s important to think of others and be aware of the impact fireworks can have on those around you. The loud and sudden noises can be distressing for those with sensory issues, and pet owners know only too well the distress they can cause animals.
Enjoy fireworks safely. For more advice visit firescotland.gov.uk
To report the misuse of fireworks anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.