With dazzling showers illuminating the sky and the aroma of smoky cinders mingling with hot chestnuts and toffee apples, Bonfire Night can be a wonderful evening out for your family. In order to ensure that much like Guy Fawkes, your well laid plans don’t go awry, make these simple safety considerations and ensure your evening goes off with a bang.
Keep in the heat
As obvious as it sounds, temperatures can drop suddenly around the beginning of November and it is surprising just how cold it can be standing outdoors long after the sun goes down. Light layers in breathable fabrics work really well for adults and sensitive-skinned children as they can be added and removed easily and should prevent any stuffiness or overheating. For extra brownie points pack a flask of hot chocolate or seasonal pumpkin soup: both are warming, practical and delicious!
For many parents the biggest source of worry on Guy Fawkes Night is fireworks and sparklers. We have all heard the horror stories of what can happen when safety precautions are not taken, but it is actually very simple to ensure a happy evening is had by all. Attending a large scale, organised fireworks event ensures not only that the displays are far more impressive than anything achieved in the home, but that all of the appropriate safety guidelines will have been followed and that your family can stand well back and enjoy the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from a safe distance. Children love to play with sparklers but they should always be supervised, wear thick gloves and dispose of them in a bucket of sand or water, and children under five should never handle sparklers by themselves.
Beware the bangs
One of the lesser known health hazards associated with Bonfire Night is the potential for hearing damage to sensitive young eardrums. All of those pops and bangs associated with Guy Fawkes’ folly can actually cause lasting damage, say the British Tinnitus Association (BTA), who warn that a single bang from a firework in close proximity can permanently damage hearing and lead to tinnitus.In order to avoid any damage to your children's ears, the BTA recommends not standing too close to the display, limiting the amount of time you spend in proximity to loud noises and also investing in a pair of ear plugs or noise reducing headphones (think Gwyneth Paltrow with baby Apple at Live Aid).
Doing it yourself
If you would prefer to hold your own display then make sure you familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations for firework use. The government has issued a handy checklist for those planning to put on a display at home, including what to look out for when buying fireworks and how to properly dispose of them. It is equally important when having your own Bonfire Night party to consider how young children will feel about the noisy and potentially chaotic atmosphere. Babies and very young children may find fireworks frightening (as do most pets) and you may need to stay indoors with them, perhaps watching through a window. If fireworks are not an option there are still plenty of lovely ways to celebrate Bonfire Night as a family: Get together for some firework inspired art and craft activities, have a conker tournament or cook up a warming autumnal feast, serving seasonal treats like apple crumble. Whether you head out to the local display or stay at home in front of the fire, gather your family around for a seasonal storytime and tell the tale of Guy Fawkes, making sure your little sparks will always remember, remember the fifth of November.