9 top safety tips for Bonfire Night and Halloween
It is that time again! The half term holiday is swiftly approaching; culminating in the excitement of Halloween and Bonfire Night.
However, dark evenings and over-excited children can be a recipe for disaster and it is advisable to plan ahead to ensure everyone remains safe:
Fancy dress costumes are not usually, waterproof or flame resistant – wear warm clothes underneath, take a waterproof and be extremely careful to avoid naked flames.
Talk to children and prepare them that it can be scary and it is not real. Sometimes people go all-out to make things frightening, forgetting that this can be petrifying for little ones. Hold small children’s hands and be prepared, just in case they panic and run if something suddenly scares them.
Remind children that many people do not like the idea of Trick or Treat and some find it frightening and offensive. Children should only approach houses where there is an obvious sign such as a pumpkin to show they are actively participating in the fun. For older children going out together; ask them to explain the route that they are taking; and drum into them the importance of sticking together. Give a quick reminder on road safety as in their excitement they may dash back and forth across roads.
Please be aware that Trick or Treat sweets are unlikely to be the freshest or most hygienic and will definitely not have been screened for anyone with a nut allergy!
It is always safest to go to a public fireworks display.
If you are planning to hold a fireworks party at home; prepare in advance:
Equip yourself with an appropriately stocked first aid kit, a bucket of sand, easy access to plenty of water, a fire blanket and a bottle of sterile saline to irrigate eyes should sparks be blown into them.
Check all your fireworks conform to British Standards and you have sufficient space to ignite them safely.
Sparklers are fun, but they burn extremely fiercely and can get as hot as an industrial blowtorch. Sparklers are not suitable for children under the age of five.
Always light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves. Children must be supervised closely if they have lit sparklers; ensure they have sufficient space. Once finished; the used sparklers should be put into a bucket of sand and no one should pick them up until they are completely cool.
Ensure you would know what to do in a medical emergency – book onto a first aid course or take an online course
However careful you are, injuries can happen and here is how to treat some of the more common ones:
First Aid for Burns
Hold the affected area under cool, running water for at least 10 minutes
Cool the burn and keep the person warm – look out for signs of shock.
Remove any loose clothing and jewellery as soon as possible. NEVER remove anything that has stuck to a burn.
If a child is burnt and the area is blistered and larger than a 50p piece; phone for an ambulance.
Once the burn has been cooled for at least 15 /20 minutes, the burn can be loosely covered with cling film or inserted into a sterile plastic bag if appropriate –alternatively keep running it under water until the paramedic arrives.
If clothing is on fire
Remember: stop, drop, wrap and roll.
Keep everyone as calm as possible. Try to prevent the casualty from panicking or running – as any movement or breeze will fan the flames and make things worse.
Help the casualty drop to the ground and wrap them in a blanket, coat, or rug to smother the flames.
If clothing has caught fire it is more than likely that the burn will be severe.
Start cooling the burn immediately under cool running water, use a shower if the burns are large, but keep looking for signs of shock and be ready to treat it. Keep cooling the burn while waiting for professional help to arrive. Keep areas that are not burnt as warm and dry as possible to try and retain their body heat. Get medical help fast. Instruct a helper to dial 999 or 112 for an ambulance.
Whilst cooling, remove any constricting items such as jewellery or clothing from the affected area unless they are stuck to the burn. Wear sterile gloves if they are available
Touch the burn
Remove anything stuck to the burn
Use lotions, ointments or creams
Use adhesive dressings
Fireworks and bonfires release sparks and debris and these can easily be blown into the eye.
If someone feels something has gone into their eye: Wash your hands and carefully open the casualty’s eye looking in particular for any embedded object. If you can see anything lodged in the eye, cover both eyes and phone for an ambulance. If you can see the object in the eye and it is moving freely, use a sterile eye wash and gently irrigate the eye to remove it. If the casualty is still in pain, or discomfort, seek medical advice.
It is strongly advised that you attend a practical or online First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.