By K.T.F. Chocolaad & G. Kanhai*
Dear TAB readers,
Every month our office writes an article about a legal matter. This time I would like to inform you about the rules of fireworks concerning your children.
Fireworks is part of the holidays and the New Year. Unfortunately, every year there are serious injuries and even deaths caused by fireworks, because not everyone wisely handles fireworks or because the fireworks are illegal and therefore unsafe. Apart from the health dangers, there are strict rules. In this article I will inform you about the rules and the consequences if the rules are not followed.
To determine if fireworks are illegal is not so simple. It does not look different than normal. To make it a little bit easy you can keep in mind that illegal fireworks are fireworks that are not sold in the legal trade and within the fixed selling days in the Netherlands. Examples of known illegal fireworks are strings, flares, mortar bombs, Chinese rolls, avalanche arrows and Cobras or what is called the Big Five.
What are the legal times to possess and lighten fireworks?
The fixed days on what fireworks can be sold legally are December 29th until December 31st. If one of the legally fixed selling days are on a Sunday, then there may no fireworks be sold on that Sunday. Then there fireworks may be sold on December 28th. It is illegal to have fireworks with you on public roads before and after the fixed selling days.
You can lighten fireworks from 18.00 h on December 31st to 02.00 h on January 1st.
How many fireworks am I allowed to possess?
It is allowed to have up to twenty-five kilos of fireworks in your possession. Outside the fixed selling days too, but in a safe, non-public place.
Categories of fireworks
There are different categories of fireworks; the categories have to do with from which age you are allowed to buy the fireworks.
Category F1: These are fireworks that presents a very low risk and a very low noise level. You can use these fireworks in a closed space. You have to be 12 years to buy the fireworks of this category.
Category F2: These are fireworks that presents a low risk and low noise level. These fireworks are for outdoor use and delimited areas. You have to be 16 years to buy the fireworks of this category.
Category F3: These fireworks presents a medium risk and are for outdoor use in large open areas. The noise level is not harmful for the human health. You have to be 18 years to buy the fireworks of this category.
Category F4: These fireworks presents a high risk. The fireworks of this category are intended for use by persons with specialist knowledge.
If young people aged 12 to 18 do not follow the statutory rules, they can be sent by the police to Halt for a Halt punishment.
Halt is an organization that already focuses more than thirty years on the prevention, fight and punishment of juvenile crime.
Halt has the statutory duty to punish unacceptable behavior of young people within the age of 12 to 18 years. About 17.000 young people per year gets a Halt punishment.
Every year 1.500 young people are sent to Halt because they do not follow the rules fireworks.
For example, if your child destroys a trash can with illegal fireworks, he or she will get a Halt punishment of a couple of hours for destruction. Your child will also have to pay for the damage and make assignments about safely using fireworks. At Halt your child will discover how dangerous fireworks are and understand why some fireworks are illegal.
In case of damage
If there is damage caused by your child, then you as a parent can be held responsible for compensation for the damage.
There are different categories in the law. For children until the age of 13 there is a strict liability in principle. The parents have to compensate for the damage, the child can not be held liable.
For children within the age of 14 until 16 years, the parents can still be held responsible unless you can prove that you did all the reasonable efforts to prevent the unlawful act of your child.
If your child is older than 16 years, then your child has an own liability. In certain cases the parents are also liable.
It is very important to point this out to your child. You have to inform your child about the dangers of lighting fireworks, especially because their actions can have serious financial effects for you as a parent.
Be careful with the use of fireworks and follow the rules! Schuurman Kleijweg De Vries Lawyers wishes you in advance a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Contact our office
If you have any questions or if you are in need of legal support, you are welcome to visit our office for free consultation.
This of course, only after you made an appointment. For an appointment call 070 – 427 3215 or send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org and explain to our secretary what your question is.