4 Essential Safety Tips for a Firework Display at Home

Firework season is here and, although it’s a really exciting time, safety should always be your number one concern, so If you’re planning to buy fireworks for a display at home, it’s crucial that you’re aware and prepared for the various safety aspects which come part of parcel with it.

Do You Have a Suitable Space for a Home Display?

Before you roam the internet to find the best fireworks for sale, it’s vital first to establish whether or not you have a suitable space to use them. Firework displays at home tend to be situated in an area like a garden or patio. While this does give you plenty of room to socialise and set up your fireworks in larger spaces, it can also present a few issues such as overhanging trees and nearby houses.

It’s easy to get tempted by all of the big and exciting fireworks for sale, but if your garden isn’t suitable for rocket-style fireworks because of obstructions, there are other options. Wheel and fountain fireworks are static and provide you with a brilliant visual display while avoiding any of the hazards that come with rockets. Also, if you aren’t concerned about a big flashy show, sparklers are a classic option to entertain your younger guests, just follow the safety guidelines strictly and never let kids use them without close supervision.

Do Some Homework Before You Buy Fireworks

If this is your first time using fireworks or you have only used them once or twice before, it’s a smart move to do a little bit of homework. We already mentioned choosing the right fireworks to suit your environment, but it’s also crucial that you buy fireworks that suit your confidence and experience using them. Firework safety advice from experts will help you massively when the time comes to host your display. I’m a total beginner, my firework experience extends to sparklers so I’d definitely start basic.

Another thing you need to consider and get to grips with is the firework laws where you live. These rules and regulations give you the safety aspects of setting off fireworks, as well as being respectful of neighbours and the people in your area. Worth noting that failing to stick to these laws can land you with a fine up to £5000 or a £80 on-the-spot fine.

Don’t Forget About Your Pets

The loud bangs and flashing lights of firework season add some excitement to the chilly Autumn and Winter nights. Your pets, on the other hand, are a lot less enthusiastic about the use of fireworks. In fact, they’re often terrified by the unfamiliar sound of loud bangs. Even as a gun dog, my sprocker gets spooked,  Although this shouldn’t necessarily change your decision to buy fireworks, it’s definitely something you should keep in mind.

Making sure your pets are safe and settled indoors while fireworks are going off gives you a much better chance of reducing stress and keeping them safe. putting music on or the TV up might help mask some of the noises. If you’re hosting a display, choosing quiet fireworks will still give you a visually fantastic show, without the loud bang. While the lack of noise may seem to make it a less authentic firework show, it’s safe to say your animals will massively appreciate it.

Remind Your Guests About Firework Safety

Planning and holding a fun and exciting firework display will undoubtedly be your aim, but the safety of your guests should always be your priority. And now you should have a better idea of your role in keeping everyone safe, so now it’s time to focus on your guests. This doesn’t mean you have to test them, but quickly setting some ground rules will help to prevent any mishaps.

First off, fireworks should only ever be lit by an adult — and once they are lit, you should stand a safe distance away until they go off. It’s also vital to keep fireworks stored in their box to avoid accidental ignition from other fireworks or guests with cigarettes. If alcohol is flowing, it’s not just younger guests you’ll have to worry about in regards to safety either. It’s your firework display and therefore your responsibility to make sure everyone steers clear of injury. Helping your guests stick to the guidelines mentioned above will help you to do that.

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Teaching Road Safety To Toddlers

Way back when, Tufty the squirrel was my road safety guru. As a committed member of the Tufty Club I learnt to stop look and listen each time I crossed the road, harrowing memories of Willy the Weasel and the ice cream van incident will always stay with me. Anyone who says shock tactics for the young don’t work, I beg to differ.  This was then replaced by the Green Cross Code man passive advertising at it’s best I’d say.

My quandary is, what is there nowadays to teach these important life skill to kids? With so many channels on the TV it’s hard to make sure the same collective messages are being drummed in. So it’s down us responsible adults to ensure that the kids are alright. At the tender age of 2 and ever since my boy has been rein free. (Don’t judge me, they were an absolute god send for my flighty toddler who was prone to taking a tumble when out and about only to be saved from serious knee scrapes by a swift fly back on the harness.) I’ve  been getting him to stop look and listen out for cars each time we stop to cross. I admit that my quiet little village is a safe haven to practice these skills as you’re more in danger of being taken out by a cat than a speeding car but the message is getting through very slowly.

teaching road safety to toddlers is totally different nowadays

And I mean slowly, putting it into practice really helps but living in a digital age so does coming down to his interactive level by looking at online games where you can sit to gather and work though scenarios to give kids the tools to think for them selves when it comes to road safety. Or searching out tv programmes on  YouTube. While the hard-hitting Think campaign  might be a little too full on for kids, with some even being banned until after the 9pm watershed there are gentler options which are age appropriate

The ultimate thing, though, is to talk about the traffic when you’re out, to constantly practice looking out for cars, listening and making sure they walk and hold you hand. Most importantly, repetition is boss. Each time you come to a road crossing, ask them what you should be doing to make sure they understand and then offer bundles of praise for getting it right. Finally, role play crossing the road with toys at home. Those 10 little minutes of your undivided attention will capture their minds and their emotions. It’s a key message that can never been over used.

So there you go, I hope this helps and do pop any extra advice in the comments.

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Confession Time, I’m Not Always A Confident Driver.
Sometimes, not all the time but sometimes, I’m not such a confident driver, I put my hands up. I was a late learner after many stop start attempts but not driving was never an option. I live in a village and didn’t want to rely on buses to go from A to B. So when my 30’s hit, with a little determination, a drive for independence,  I found myself a patient and understanding instructor and stepped into the drivers seat.
But that little bit of fear you get as a new driver still lingers; usually each time I have to join a slip road or drive along an unfamiliar road. I have decided it’s down to age, lack of experience and loosing two friends in a car accident. Once you’re aware of the dangers of the road, you treat each journey with respect and caution. I know where the accident hot spots are on my local roads which determines how I behave on that particular part the road every time.
It’s when I’m on new ground, though, that I really have to push myself, and I do on the premise that the more I push myself out of my comfort zone, the easier it becomes. But there are some journeys which really set my heart racing even as a passenger. I clearly remember assessing all the laws of gravity and any physics lesson I had paid attention in while cruising round the Needles on the Isle of White on a double decker. If you’ve ever experienced that journey you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Are you a confident driver? I'm not always the most confident behind the wheel
And then there’s my must see and do Ireland. I’ve longed to visit the wild coast of Connemara after loosing myself in the Santa Montefiore novel, The Secrets From The Lighthouse. Part of my planning and research will certainly involve things like this an infographic about Ireland’s Most Dangerous Drives from insurance firm Chill.ie , fore warned is forearmed I say!
So while it hardly compares to the Bolivia Death Road, (see the You Tube vid below from Top Gear if you want to know what I’m on about) my narrow country Devon roads are a force to be reckoned with in the hight of summer and an abundance of tourists not wanting to scratch their cars or reverse.
Highlighting my message that not every car journey’s as fun as it should be and you should always, always respect other drivers.
As you could be stuck traveling between a steering wheel gripper on a slip road, like me!

dangerous drives infographic

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Testing Out The New Kiddy Phoenixfix 3 Car Seat

I’ve become a little bit obsessed with finding a comfortable and safe car seat ever since my son was born. We’d never had any problem with our older boys on car journeys but this little chap seemed to hate, and I mean that in the strongest sense of the word, being in his for longer than 10 minutes.

After struggling on for 7 months, avoiding as much car travel as possible, it was time to admit defeat and start looking around but the market had changed so much and I simply didn’t know where to start. But budgets were also very limited so I settled for what I thought was a nice, safe comfortable one.

Sadly that didn’t work.

He really seemed to hate the restriction of the 5 point harness. But with our forward facing seat there wasn’t another option. Or was there? My next round of research led me to the latest trend in safer seats; the impact car seat. These cam with a separate impact shield which was held in place by the car seat leaving the arms completely free.

The idea is that an impact, the shield acts like an air back, cushioning the child’s torso  and spreading the   forces across a wider area, reducing stresses on single parts of the torso. The whole upper torso will move together rather than with a harness which restricts shoulders and hips, but does not take the head and neck movement into consideration. A toddlers head to torso is proportionately heavier in comparison to an adult, therefore the forces applied to a toddlers neck are higher with a 5 point harness. And there lies the problem, along with the fact that many, mine included, tend to slip their arms out of them.

Do you know the real dangers of forward facing car seats? I't's difficult though when your baby or toddler doesn't like rear facing so I've tested out an impact shield car seat which seemed a good alternative.

And so we gave the  Kiddy Phoenixfix 3 car seat a go.

Fulfilling the ECE-R44/04 European Safety Regulations as well as the new roll over test ‘Supplement 7’, it passed with flying colours. That had me assured we were doing the right thing.

Looking like a normal high back booster, it’s held in place with K-fix+ connectors which being slightly longer than our old isofix,  meant I can move it slightly  sideways when putting the toddler in and out of the car. I thought it was a design fault at first and questioned the safety as it had so much give but after checking it out on the Kiddy Uk website it’s actually adds to the safety as in the event of a side impact, the seat will slide sideways, and protectively push your child inwards away from the impact zone. The isofix connectors also have the handy option of being retractable so you can move it easily from car to car or even use it on a plane.

Do you know the real dangers of forward facing car seats? I't's difficult though when your baby or toddler doesn't like rear facing so I've tested out an impact shield car seat which seemed a good alternative.

There’s the option to pop it in a recline position too which I’d not had on my old high back booster, a must for naps and to help stop the head from falling forward. And there seems lots of support around the head rest which can be adjusted, along with the padded seat, with removable cushion which helps give my son a little extra boost so he’s not hidden under the impact shield.

Getting my boy in and out is relatively easy too. once he’s in and I’ve made sure his back and bum are pressed up to the back (otherwise he sits too low under the shield) you attach the impact shield on top of his legs and into position under the arm rests. You then bring the seatbelt round, fixing it in place and slide it into place in the holds. It takes a bit of fiddling with the seat belt to make sure it’s tight and I did find it had a tendency to push in to one side if you didn’t get it right, but once in, my son could rest his arms on top.

It’s really is amazing how much the whole baby and toddler market changes so quickly and is worth doing your research on whats available out there. Given that extended rear facing is now the option, for any child who doesn’t find the restricted leg space comfortable, the impact shield car seats seem to be the way to go.

Do you know the real dangers of forward facing car seats? I't's difficult though when your baby or toddler doesn't like rear facing so I've tested out an impact shield car seat which seemed a good alternative.

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Lets Talk About Kids Wearing Sunglasses

I’ve always been conscious about the importance of Slip, Slap, Slop, Seek, Slide when it comes to keeping not only my children but myself safe in the sun.  If you’re new to this parenting lark or have simply never come across this message before it’s a quick way to remind you to

slip on a shirt

slap on a hat

slop on some suncream

seek some shade

slide on some sun glasses

Originating from a SunSmart campaign by the Australian cancer council, it didn’t really start making waves in Britain until 2011 but it’s such an important message that we should be chanting it at the very hint of summer (however illusive it can be over here!)

It was actually a cold, wet and miserable day when I began writing this but I decided it was an important topic to share along with the idea on whether you should encourage children to wear sunglasses, or sunnies as they’re known in Chez Nutshell.

And the catalyst for this brain wave was a comment I received when my toddler was a very little baby. Probably not intended to scorn, it struck me none the less as more the ignorance of the dangers of the sun and how the message still wasn’t getting across.

Babies, Sunglasses and Opinions

 It was back in 2014 on a glorious summer morning and I’d taken my 8 week old baby out for a trip to the beach. Avoiding the mid day sun as recommended, I wanted to get out and being the velcro baby he was, our only option to get from A-B in foot was with a sling. So I popped on a long-sleeved cotton t-shirt, a wide rimmed cotton hat and some baby sun glasses called Baby Bandz  which were designed for, you guessed it, babies.

My aim was to protect his developing eyes from the sun. Simples.

The comment however, was about being an over protective mum.

It’s not that I was annoyed by the comment, as it stands, I don’t think there is anything wrong by being protective and often the lines between motherhood, love and protection are very blurred. My annoyance was the ignorance than it was seen as acceptable for an adult to wear sunglasses but should you make you child wear them then you were doing something out of  the ordinary.

I was reminded me of this comment when buying some funky Raybans for my pre teen. Every year I’ve bought my boys sunglasses in the hope they’ll wear them but more often than not they’ve sat in a draw after the initial excitement has passed. Despite me reminding them, they’ve always been a little hesitant, not wanting to appear different from their friends. Or so I thought.

In true sibling style, my eldest son decided he wanted some too. And when I reminded him of all the pairs I’d bought over the years which weren’t worn. He explained that last year’s were uncomfortable and he couldn’t see through them properly.

So THAT was where I think I went wrong. Cheapie, bargain loving me, not wanting to waste money but feeling mum guilt at not getting them, may as well have thrown money down the drain. But I needed hard evidence that I needed to be spending a little more of my hard-earned cash, so I researched  babies, children and sunglasses.

This is why you Should encourage your children to wear sunglasses

So where’s the evidence?

The advise was a resounding avoid cheap sunglasses.

The cornea, lens and fluids are clearer in a child’s eye than in an adult’s which allows more short wavelength light to reach the retina, which can lead to cataracts in later life.

Sunglasses need to be CE kite marked and block out 99% of the suns harmful rays and as children tend to spend more time outside than adults, it is thought that up to 80% of sun exposure takes place before the age of 18. (more on that can be found in this article at Made For Mums)

So I’m stepping out of my comfort zone this year and investing in some decent ones which they will wear. I’m hoping getting them a style they chose them selves will encourage them to not only take a little extra care of them. But also actually leave the house wearing them.

I’m rarely seen out and about at the hint of sunshine without my signature shades so we’re sending out the right messages. So this summer I will be making sure my children wear sunglasses as well as slopping on the sunscreen and all the other sun safe factors they need.

And if I’m an over protective mum for taking care of my children’s future vision, then so be it!

sunglasses

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