Whether you’re gearing up to mark Bonfire Night or Diwali, RoSPA is encouraging people to share the Firework Code and sparkler safety advice to prevent nasty burn injuries to young children.
The safety charity has joined forces with Birmingham Children’s Hospital to promote firework safety messages in the run up to this popular season.
Figures from accident and emergency (A&E) departments in England, from NHS Digital, show that 4,506 people visited A&E having suffered a firework injury in 2014/15.
And figures for those who had to be admitted to hospital in England show that there were 114 admissions due to firework injuries in 2014/15. Of these admissions, it is concerning that 44 (39 per cent) involved under-18s, including 11 admissions that involved under-5s. A total of 96 of the admissions were emergency admissions. Across Great Britain as a whole, there were 138 firework injury hospital admissions in 2014/15.
It is against the law to sell fireworks to under-18s in Britain and it is also illegal to carry fireworks in public if you’re under 18. RoSPA advises that only adults deal with fireworks, including setting up displays and lighting fireworks, and children and young people watch from a safe distance. Special care is also recommended with sparklers. You can see the full Firework Code and sparkler safety advice on RoSPA’s website.
Ashley Martin, the safety charity’s public health project manager, said: “We want families to have enjoyable celebrations and an important part of this is making sure that events are not only fun but safe. The safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a large public display but if you’ll be having your celebrations at home, be sure to follow the Firework Code. Top tips from the code are to plan your display in advance so you’re not rushing things at the last minute and to keep fireworks in a closed box, using them one at time. Spectators should stand at a safe distance, so make sure your garden is big enough for the fireworks you want to set off. Only adults should deal with fireworks and remember - don’t go back to a lit firework.
“Like injuries from larger fireworks, sparkler injuries can be really serious, especially to very young children. While sparklers may look harmless, they burn at fierce temperatures. We recommend that sparklers are not used by under-5s and that children wear gloves when they’re holding sparklers. When you’ve finished with a sparkler, put it straight into a bucket of cold water.
“We hope people will share this information to help prevent firework injuries, especially to young children.”
Elizabeth Chipp, a consultant burns surgeon from Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “Fortunately we have seen fewer serious injuries from fireworks in the last few years which shows that adults and young people are enjoying fireworks and sparklers in a safe manner.
“If you are unlucky enough to receive a burn then it is important to know what to do. If your clothes catch fire then you should stop, drop and roll. Cool any burned areas with running water for 20 minutes, cover with a non adherent dressing (cling film is ideal) and seek medical advice. Remember that an injury from a firework can happen in a second but the effects may last for a lifetime so enjoy Bonfire Night and Diwali responsibly and follow the Firework Code. ”
- Figures for people who were admitted to hospital in Scotland, provided by ISD Scotland, show that there were nine admissions due to firework injuries in 2014/15, of which four (44 per cent) involved under-18s. Eight of the nine admissions were emergency admissions.
- Figures for people who were admitted to hospital in Wales show that there were 15 hospital admissions due to firework injuries in 2014/15. Of these admissions, it is concerning that more than a quarter (four) involved under-15s. All of the admissions were emergency admissions and involved male victims.