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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How Safe is your Child this Diwali?

Originally, Diwali was the festival of lights. Actually it still is, although nowadays, there is a stronger emphasis on crackers and sweets and parties. But all that really matters is that we enjoy this season. How we do it is entirely up to us. The trick is not to let this beautiful festival turn in to a nightmare.

We may wonder how that can happen. It is quite simple, really. Many people love crackers. And children especially so. All those pretty colours and bright lights…and that horrendous noise that sounds so wonderful to the youngsters. Well, we cannot stop kids from being kids. Simply translated it means that we can not keep them away from fire crackers after a certain age. But we can take a few basic precautions to make sure that they do not come in harms way. In fact, here are a few tips.

A simple safety net for burning crackers

1. Adult supervision is a must.
Do not send your children down to burn crackers. Go down with them. After all, Diwali is a family festival and can be enjoyed by everyone. Besides, no one can take better care of our child then us. If it is simply not possible for either of us to join them, a much older responsible child will do.

2. Children in arms should be kept in arms.
Do not let them play around with sparklers as a spark could easily get in to their eyes. They can look from afar. But please do not take them too close. As it is, they are hardly likely to enjoy the loud noise of bombs. Besides, their ears are still very delicate and loud noises are best avoided.

3. No nylons or synthetic clothing is permitted.
Nor should our child wear flowing churidar kurtas, ghagra cholis or dupattas. All this is fine during the ceremony or ‘pooja’. But when burning crackers, make sure they change into something more comfortable and sensible. Avoid jewellery as far as possible as metal is a good conductor of heat.

4. Burn crackers in an open-air compound away from the building wall.
Do not keep the crackers too close to the lamp or candle that we are using to avoid them going off all at once. In fact try to keep all the crackers at a distance and light them in a separate area.

5. As far as possible avoid buying bombs for younger children.
Sparklers, fountains and floor-circles are more attractive and do less damage.

6. Always keep a bucket of water and a blanket at hand.
This is not a fatalistic attitude but a precautionary one. As they say, it is always better to be safe than sorry.


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