One of the reasons fireworks injuries continue to occur is because people don’t consider how dangerous these devices can be. People don’t realise, until it’s too late, that the risk of serious injury outweighs the excitement of fireworks.
Fireworks at home can be great fun but must be used safely. Sadly, every year, despite adverts warning about the dangers, there are many injuries caused by fireworks and more children than adults are injured. Around 1000 people are injured each year and over 550 children under 16 are taken to A & E in the 4 weeks around bonfire night. Only this last weekend three 12 year old boys were injured in St Helens by a firework. One suffered substantial burns and a fracture to his hand. Another, minor burns to his hands and face and the 3rd substantial burns to the stomach and face.
Sparklers are often given to young children to wave around, but I’m not sure you would give them so readily to a child if you knew that sparklers can be 5 to 6 times hotter than cooking oil
Tips for using sparklers:-
- do not give them to young children
- supervise children and provide them with gloves
- light and hold at arm’s length
- don’t wear loose clothing that could catch fire
- don’t wave around close to other people
- put them in a bucket of water after use
Fireworks can cause many types of injuries including serious injuries such as third degree burns (the worst type of burn), permanent scarring, nerve damage and blindness.
Frequently injured body parts are hands, eyes and legs. Many of these injuries will be for life and can require ongoing treatment. The resulting scarring, even from a less severe burn, is likely to require careful after-management with regular massage, moisturizing, use of silicon gel and full protection from the sun. More serious scarring will require specialist treatment. Any scarring may have a devastating psychological effect.
Fireworks are great but so are the potential hazards
Things to remember:-
- buy fireworks from a reputable retailer and make sure they conform to British Safety Standards. They should have BS7114 written on the box
- make sure they are suitable for where you want to set them off
- read the instructions carefully
- don’t drink alcohol if you are responsible for discharging them
- have a torch with you
- wear a hat, eye protection and gloves
- have a few buckets of water ready
- have a first aid kit to hand
- don’t ever place fireworks, even used ones, on a bonfire
- keep pets inside. Many do not like loud noises
Visit RoSPA’s safer fireworks website for more information