Halloween and Bonfire Night can be magical times for little ones with the excitement of Trick or Treat and Fireworks. However dark evenings and over-excited children are a potentially dangerous combination and advanced preparation can help to ensure the evening is memorable for all the right reasons:
Take a torch
Fancy dress costumes are not usually the warmest things to wear and are not waterproof and may not be flame resistant – wear warm clothes underneath, take a waterproof and be very careful not to get too close to any naked flames.
Always hold children’s hands and be ready in case they panic and run if something scares them.
Be aware that Trick or Treat sweets may not be the freshest or most hygienic and will not have been screened for anyone with a nut allergy!
Please encourage children to be polite and to be sensitive to elderly people, those with tiny children and others who really don’t like the whole idea and find it worrying and frightening. For older children going out together, be sure that you know the route that they are taking; drum into them the importance of sticking together and also remind them about road safety as in their excitement they often dash across roads in the dark.
The safest way to enjoy Fireworks is to go to a properly organised display.
If you are planning fireworks at home again prepare in advance:
Have an appropriately stocked first aid kit, a bucket of sand and plenty of water, a fire blanket and a bottle of sterile saline to irrigate eyes. Check the fireworks conform to British Standards and you have sufficient space to ignite them safely.
Over a four week period around November 5th more than 1,000 people are likely to suffer injuries due to fireworks. Of these accidents, nearly 600 are likely to occur at home or private parties and nearly 400 accidents involve children under the age of 13*.
Sparklers are fun, but they burn fiercely and are not suitable for children under the age of five.
Light sparklers one at a time and always wear gloves
Always supervise children with sparklers, avoid them dancing around and ensure they are clear of other people. Have a bucket of sand to put used sparklers into and ensure no one picks them up until they have properly cooled.
However careful you are, injuries can happen and here is how to treat some of the more common ones:
Sparklers get six times as hot as a pan of cooking oil or as hot as a welder’s torch
- Hold the affected area under cold, running water for at least 10 minutes
- Cool the burn and keep the person warm – look out for signs of shock
- If a child is burnt and the area is blistered and larger than a 50p piece, you should phone for an ambulance
- Once the burn has been cooled for at least 15 minutes, the burn can be covered with cling film or inserted into a sterile plastic bag if appropriate –alternatively keep running it under water until the ambulance arrives
If clothing is on fire
Remember : stop, drop, wrap and roll.
- Stop the casualty panicking or running – any movement or breeze will fan the flames
- Drop the casualty to the ground and wrap them in a blanket, coat, or rug. Ensure they are made from inflammable fabrics such as wool
- Roll the casualty along the ground until the flames have been smothered
If clothing has caught fire it is more than likely that the burn will be severe. A severe burn is deep and may not hurt as much as a minor one due to damaged nerve endings.
- Start cooling the burn immediately under cool running water for at least 10 minutes. Use a shower if the burns are large. Keep cooling the burn while waiting for professional help to arrive. Ensure you are cooling the burn and not the casualty, keep areas that are not burnt as warm and dry as possible to try and avoid the casualty going into shock
- Instruct a helper to dial 999 or 112 for an ambulance
- Make the casualty as comfortable as possible, ideally lie them down and elevate their legs, to reduce the risk of clinical shock.