Diwali Safety for Your Little Ones

Nisha Mathew

Diwali, the festival of lights, will soon be back for another year of fun, family togetherness, firecrackers, lots of sweets and general happiness!

One of the biggest and the most celebrated festivals in India, Diwali is synonymous with eating, crackers, lights, diyas, new clothes and sweets. Unfortunately, it is also synonymous with accidents. Diwali is known to be a festival with most number of accidents. Each year brings a fresh crop of cases involving loss of eyesight and serious burns and injuries caused by fireworks. And, it is quite sad to note that most of these cases involve children! Kids get all excited with the arrival of Diwali and it’s their chance to go crazy with the fireworks and celebrate the festival in style. But, as we are all aware - playing with fireworks requires a lot of safety. A little carelessness on your child’s or on your part can potentially turn dangerous and the festival of lights and happiness may convert to tragedy.

As parents, it is important to take certain precautionary steps, for a happy, safe, accident-free and bright Diwali for all of us (especially our children). So, while playing with fireworks, one should be attentive, so that no one is physically harmed nor the property is damaged. Learn about the safety for playing/allowing children to play with fireworks - Here are some tips, as provided by some experts to ensure a safe Diwali for us and our children.

Instructions to be followed when playing with fireworks:

Adult supervision: children should play with fireworks strictly under the supervision of an adult. Do not let kids play with fire, even if they are lighting the crackers. The fire should always be handled by a grown-up. Make sure that a responsible adult is always present around the children, someone who can keep an alert eye, someone who can guide the kids properly and can take charge in case of any emergency.

Since kids are small, they may not be able to comprehend the consequences of handling fireworks carelessly. It is therefore the responsibility of parents to make their kids understand fire-safety, the positives of being careful or the negatives of mishandling fireworks.

Proper arrangement of water and sand: Before your family starts enjoying the fireworks, make arrangements for sufficient amount of water and sand nearby. Water and sand are useful to extinguish fire and prevent it from spreading further. If, in case, an undesired event does occur, it can be solved quickly and efficiently with sand and water.  Also keep some heavy blankets and a few wet towels around for emergencies.

Play in an open area: Fireworks should always be enjoyed outside the house. Sparks from fireworks may damage household items when played with inside. Sometimes, just a small spark is all it takes to wreak havoc and become the reason for huge losses. So, parents should enforce a strict 'no' to playing with the fireworks inside the house.

Safety precautions to be followed with fireworks:

Purchase legal fireworks: Fireworks should always be bought/ purchased from approved vendors. Always buy branded and legal fireworks. Legal fireworks are manufactured following strict standards which mean reduced chances of disasters. It is also advisable to check manufacturing date/expiry dates on the packaging. Sometime, sellers try and sell off old product to make money. 

Read instructions: Each firework is different and meant to be used different. Some special fireworks come with instructions – read and follow these carefully before you use them.

Placement of fireworks: When playing with one set of fireworks, keep the rest of the stash at a safe distance. The sparks from lit fireworks may burn the whole set of fireworks in a matter of few seconds, causing harm to you, your children and others. Therefore it is always advisable unused fireworks at a safe distance.

First-aid kit: Always keep a first aid kit nearby when handling/playing with fireworks. If hands, legs or other body parts get burnt, use the first aid kit, apply a suitable ointment quickly. This will help reduce pain and prevent blistering till it can further be checked out by a doctor and properly treated. And, always keep the doctor’s number handy in case of any emergency.

Disposal of fireworks: After the firecrackers are burnt completely, throw it away at a safe place – immerse them in sad or water as soon as they appear out. The spent fireworks remain hot for long time - so, if not disposed off carefully, these are known to cause the maximum number of accidental burns to children.

Wear footwear: Always wear proper footwear while playing with firecrackers. Footwear will protect your legs from the sparks falling on ground.

Clean hands and feet: The fireworks/crackers are made up of toxic and harmful chemicals that could be hazardous to skin and health. It is therefore advisable and a good protocol to follow for kids to wash their hands and feet properly and thoroughly after playing with fireworks.

Things to be remember to enjoy Diwali responsibly:

  • Do NOT buy cheap quality fireworks.
  • Only light one firework at a time
  • Avoid open hair or loose clothing. Tie hair back, wear caps, wear safety goggles and no loose fitting clothes. Wear cotton clothes, and cover your body as much as possible. Shoes are a must.
  • Do not place diyas and lamps in the house. If absolutely necessary, place them in a designated area and make sure children are accompanied by a grown-up at all times and do not go near lit diyas by mistake.
  • Never relight fireworks that appear to have gone out. Wait for 15 minutes, and then soak the firework in a bucket of water.
  •  Never allow small children to go near fireworks
  • Do not bend over the firework to burn it. Always light it from a safe distance.
  • Do not use candles to burn the firecrackers. Either use incense sticks, matchsticks, coils or even diyas to light the crackers.
  • Do not use lit firecracker to scare others.
  • If your child is not comfortable in the loud noise, place cotton buds in the ears.
  • It is best to not expose very small babies to smoke for a long duration. This is not a good idea even for toddlers. Have them enjoy the firecrackers for a little while and then take them in, probably letting them watch through a closed window.
  • After you finish — be responsible. Make arrangement to clear up all the mess the next morning!

Now that you have these guidelines to follow for safe and injury free festivities, parents... get ready to celebrate the festival of lights with lots of fun, laughter, eating and of course fireworks. Have a safe and prosperous Diwali!

Sources: IndiaStudyChannel, Firstcry

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