PARENTS

Bonfire Night With Kids

05/11/2014 15:28 | Updated 22 May 2015

Two children (4-7) playing with sparklers at night

It's that time of year again – when deafening bombs are launched into the air, flammable sticks are thrust into the hands of infants, and everyone stands a bit too close to a roaring fire.

Yes, it's that cavalcade of danger, Bonfire Night, the night that's meant to be fun but ends up being a stressful quest to keep your child's body, soul, fingers and ear drums intact.

But if we can deal with teething, nappy rash and tantrums, we can handle this. Just read our handy guide and we'll get through this Guy Fawkes thing together...

1. First and foremost, it is important to stay hydrated at all times.

'Take mulled wine in flasks, and nod serenely at the Cub leader on the gate when they comment on how sensible you arecoffee,' suggests Christina.

2. Make your children aware of the dangers...but not TOO aware.

Halloween may have eclipsed Bonfire Night in recent years, but no amount of Trick or Treating can beat the very real dangers of dynamite. And some parents are less relaxed about the risks than others.

'My mother traumatised me every bonfire night with tales of burnt faces, exploded hands and hair on fire,' says Ella. 'It got to the point where I was afraid to even hold a sparkler for more that three seconds. She would follow us round with a bucket of cold water, in which we were to place the used sparklers "IMMEDIATELY" '

3. Be prepared for it all to go a bit wrong.

'Last year we missed it all waiting for chips, my 14-month-old vomited all over the car and my nephew jammed his finger in the car door. It was a memorable one!' says Joanna.

'We spent four minutes at a local display last year, the family's first time,' adds Jack. 'Kids leapt into our arms, terrified, and we dropped our hot dogs.'

4. Protect children against loud noises.

Even though children claim to love bright colours, explosions and excitement, they can be total wusses when it comes to Bonfire Night. At the first sign of a Roman Candle they're sticking their fingers in their ears, whimpering and running for their lives.

So make it short and muffled, advises Louise. 'Cotton wool in ears, hoody up, ear muffs, bobble hat over that, then duffle coat hood up and tied with scarf. Two minutes, then go back to the car.'

5. Don't lose the kids in the dark.

'Once, when my kids were young, I went to a firework display in the park, and my three-year-old went missing,' says Em. 'I was frantic, and eventually I found him at the front of the crowd, watching a Catherine Wheel. I am not a fan.'

6. Stand well back.

'I will always follow the 'firework code' says father of one, Ashley. 'I was truly traumatised by the 1980s government ad featuring a withered, green, wooly, post-sparkler-accident child's glove. It should have had an 18 certificate.'

7. Keep animals under control.

'We always had disasters on Bonfire Night,' says Sarah. 'Once a Chinese lantern ended up in next door's tree, and the dog once escaped and we had to lure him from under a hedge with a sausage.'

8. Don't Trust Dad.

Men may enjoy fire in a primal sort of way, but that does not make them natural pyrotechnicians.

'My dad nailed a Catherine Wheel to the fence and set it on fire.' says Adele.

'I remember the time when my Dad lit the bonfire by trailing petrol in a line out -to a safe distance,' says Jane. 'Trailed it right over my brother's welly thinking he would move when he lit it. My brother didn't notice though - and so Dad basically set his foot on fire. Fun times!'

9. Never return to a firework.

'Everyone knows the rules - don't go back to a lit firework, always wear gloves with sparklers, keep fireworks in a Foxes biscuit tin etc.' says Louisa.

'That didn't stop me and my older brother collecting all the used fireworks, emptying them together and making bombs though - usually while Mum and Dad were suffering the effects of Mum's home brew. Now there's a bit of good parenting!'

10. Above all, though, have fun!

It's a special night. A night of atmosphere, beauty and drama. And when your children grow up, they'll have special memories, such as this one, from Baz. 'My mate got up the duff behind the bonfire,' He recalls, misty eyed. And so the circle of life continues, and a new generation will one day stand in the dark, crying as explosions go off all around them, and wondering why their wellies are on fire...

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