Bonfire night is fast approaching and can provide fun and entertainment for many families. Every year despite safety warnings, firework celebrations can still end in painful injuries for too many people, including very young children. According to data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre in 2016 the number of A&E attendances relating to fireworks has risen by 2.2% YOY to 4,506. We wanted to share our first aid tips with you so that you are prepared and know what to do if anything unfortunate does happen to you or anyone you know, don’t be the family who remembers bonfire night for the wrong reasons.
The vast majority of injuries effect the eyes, head or hands, so children may have visible scars for life. Over 550 children under 16 are taken to A&E in the four weeks surrounding bonfire night alone; many more boys than girls are injured by fireworks (Children’s Burns Trust). Burn cooling is critical in the initial first aid response to injury.
If someone does suffer a burn from a firework, follow this safety advice:
- Keep calm. It won’t help if you’re panicking, you will only make your patient worry more.
- Cool the burn with cold water for at least 10 minutes, you need to completely cool their skin to prevent pain, scarring or further damage.
- If there is any clothing sticking to the burn, cut around the material sticking to the skin – don’t pull it off.
- If you can, take off any belts or jewellery near the burn, as burned skin can swell.
- Do not touch the burn or burst any blisters.
- Cover the burn with clingfilm, a plastic bag, a sterile non fluffy dressing or wet cloth, to protect from infection.
- Make sure the patient is kept warm.
- If the patient’s clothing has caught fire, get him/her to stop, drop to the floor and roll them along the ground until they flames have been smothered.
- Get the patient to hospital unless it is a small burn.
- Call 999/112 if the burn is very serious, or the person is unconscious.
- Don’t give a patient who has been seriously burned anything to eat or drink, they may need an anaesthetic at the hospital.
- Never rub anything like butter, oil, toothpaste, egg or ointment into a burn, this can make it worse WATER AND CLINGFILM are the best treatment for any burn.
Sparklers are viewed as being harmless but they burn at furious temperatures. A sparkler when ignited burns at between 1000°C and 1600°C, equivalent to a welding torch.
To stay safe follow our tips:
- It is recommended that sparklers are not given to under 5yrs.
- Make sure everyone handling sparklers wears gloves.
- Hold sparklers at arms length while being lit and do not stand too close to others.
- Ensure you supervise children with sparklers, insist that they stand still and keep a good distance from other people.
- Never hold a baby in your arms while you are holding a sparkler.
- When the sparkler has finished put it in a bucket of cold water.
- Always light one sparkler at a time.
Enjoy and stay safe on bonfire night this year!
For extra information regarding sparkler safety please see the ROSPA video: https://youtu.be/E4r4NxuQA7A