How to stay safe this Halloween & Bonfire Night
Trick or Treat?
Choose your fancy dress costumes wisely as they are not usually flame resistant. Think back to the horrific moment a few years ago when Claudia Winkleman’s then 8-year-old daughter’s witch costume went up in flames as it brushed against a candle inside a Halloween pumpkin. Matilda was left with severe burns on her leg as the nylon material kept re-igniting and re-burning. The problem was that it didn’t cinder but remained hot, so became sticky and melted onto her skin. The surgeon who treated her, Jorge Leon-Villapalos, warned of a “mini-epidemic” of similar accidents happening each Halloween. He also said “If you take into consideration that in any child, the thickness of the skin is much less than in any adult, you need a much smaller thermal injury over a reduced period of time to cause a larger amount of damage.”
Matilda’s accident has led to further tightening of the flammability standard of children’s Halloween costumes, but the Watchdog programme’s investigations claim that safety testing is still not stringent enough.
One final tip is that when you are trick or treating, always hold small children’s hands as much as possible, as even if you are super careful they may get a fright from something particularly ghoulish that jumps out at them, which may cause them to jump back into a naked flame.
The fun and excitement of Fireworks and Bonfire Night are on the horizon, but we must remember to stay vigilant. History has proven time and again that prevention is always better than cure, so here are a few of my top tips to stay safe this autumn, followed by how to deal with burn injuries if things don’t quite go to plan!
Fireworks always provoke wonderful reactions when lighting up the sky. Many people attend events run by professionals to high safety standards, but if you plan to light your own fireworks here are some top tips to remember:
- Always buy fireworks from a reputable shop and check they conform to British standards
- Have a first aid kit, bucket of sand, plenty of water and a fire blanket to hand
- Keep fireworks in a closed box and never in your pocket
- Only use one firework at a time
- Light fireworks at arm’s length and stand well back
- Remember to keep cigarettes, candles and other flames away from any fireworks
- Finally, never return to a firework that’s already been lit – stay well clear!
Sparklers are mesmerising and children love to wave them around writing their name in the air. But sparklers burn very powerfully and the metal handle heats up dramatically once they are lit. So be sensible and always ensure that children are wearing gloves when holding them and once they have burnt out place them in a bucket of sand. Finally make sure you don’t let anyone touch them until they are completely cool.
Have fun, take care of your loved ones and fingers crossed the weather stays dry!
What to do if someone does get burnt?