Safety first this Halloween and fireworks night say burns experts

Monday 28th October 2019

Safety first this Halloween and fireworks night say burns experts

With Halloween and fireworks night approaching, burns specialists at Queen Victoria Hospital want to remind parents of the dangers of flammable costumes and potential injuries especially to young children.

Last year the hospital saw 12 children from Sussex, Surrey and Kent who suffered burns as a direct result of fireworks or sparklers. A significant cause of injury was sparklers – not only burns from the child holding one but also injuries sustained from sparks coming from those held by someone else. This was in addition to burns from rogue fireworks.

Specialists also want to warn of the dangers of some fancy dress costumes. Following burns sustained by the daughter of TV personality Claudia Winkleman when her Halloween outfit caught fire, a voluntary code of practice was introduced which tests costumes to a stricter flammability level than the one required by British Law. With many children going trick or treating and wearing costumes around lit pumpkins and candles the hospital’s burns experts are offering this advice:

  • Check the labelling on Halloween costumes to see if it meets the requirements for stricter testing of the British Retail Consortium guidelines.
  • Use battery powered LED tea lights rather than candles
  • Do not leave children alone with candles or lanterns
  • Where possible attend organised firework displays. If you are having fireworks at home stand children well back from lit fireworks or bonfires
  • If you are using sparklers have a bucket of water on standby to put them in as soon as they go out – even when they are not lit they still retain heat.

Julie Baker, Paediatric Matron at Queen Victoria Hospital said: “Injuries sustained from burns can be life changing, particularly for children. We’re encouraging parents and adults to think twice before allowing children to wear Halloween costumes near candles and fires and also to ensure children are fully supervised when using sparklers or at firework displays.”

In the event of a fire please remember to…

STOP: do not run or it will make the flames worse
DROP: down on the ground at once
ROLL: in heavy fabric or a fire blanket to smother the flames, though just on the ground will help
COOL: the burn with running cold tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and jewellery from the area (unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound)
CALL: for help
COVER: the burn with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth.

For more burns first aid advice click here.

Pictured: Halloween costumes similar to those shown can contribute to potentially life changing burns says Julie Baker, paediatric matron at Queen Victoria Hospital.