Our Burns Awareness campaign is back and better than ever!
For the next four weeks we’ll be sharing four videos on our social media accounts to raise everyone’s awareness about the increased risk of burns involving under 5s during this time of the year.
Hospitals see an increase in youngsters who have suffered a burn during the four weeks that surround Bonfire Night.
We think that Under 5s should specifically be able to enjoy the opportunity of fancy dress, face painting and lots of colours from fireworks in the sky without being put in any danger.
To achieve this, we’ll be sharing best practice and handy hints from the 14th of October – all the way through to Bonfire Night to share our proven tips on how you can keep your little ones safe.
Check out our burns prevention advice for all around your home at https://www.buywisebesafe.org.uk/en/risk-category/burns-scalds/
This superb video has been kindly provided to us for our campaign by University Hospital Bristol NHS Trust – which is the specialist paediatrics burns treatment centre in the South West and South Wales.
Focus on fancy dress
Why should extra care be taken with under 5s being exposed to flames around the home during this time of year?
The skin of an under 5 can be up to 15 times thinner than an adult’s, so it’s all too easy for our little ones to be burned more severely if they touch a flame or hot object.
Lots of children enjoy making lanterns out of pumpkins and some events may even include pumpkin carving competitions. Always remember knives should be used by an adult and never by children aged 0-5.
We also advise homes to consider using an electric light in the pumpkin, rather than a tea light, to avoid the risks associated with using a naked flame. Plus, fancy dress costumes could fall into it and catch alight easily.
Fancy dress masks can restrict your child’s sight and breathing. Consider using face paint and be sure the paint is safe to use on your child as this too could cause irritation or rashes on their skin.
Some costumes can even encourage your child to get excited and aggressive to other children. Accessories like fake plastic knives, swords, forks, staffs and similar items could be swung around and cause injury to your child – or someone else’s.
To prevent accidents, education is key – be sure that your children are aware of the dangers or injuries they could cause.
Legislation has also not changed regarding children’s costumes, and some are still extremely dangerous. Costumes are classified as toys; means they don’t go through the same fire safety test that regular clothing does.
If you’re making your own costume at home for your child and being creative, well done. But consider that the material you are using won’t have been tested at all for fire safety. This reinforces the importance even more of using electric lights around the home rather than tea lights!
There are a number of techniques you can learn to make sure the children in your care have fun this Halloween and Bonfire Night – but also stay safe.
The following guidance covers asks, are you Halloween Safe?
H – Help children practice STOP, hands over their face, DROP and ROLL to extinguish flames – should the clothing they are wearing catch fire.
A – Avoid billowing fabrics, layers and trailing fabric on fancy dress costumes. Choose well-fitting costumes, in a thicker material. Also avoid the temptation of making something yourself as this creation will not have met safety standards.
L – Look for ‘Flame Resistant’ labels on costumes that you buy. Theses are less likely to ignite and are easier to extinguish should the ignite.
L – Lantern’s, candles, tea-lights in pumpkins and sparklers are all lethal to children. Children under the age of 5 should not be given sparklers. Try using torches or glow sticks instead.
O – Outerwear, costumes and props can be have visible reflective tape attached to them so children can be seen in the dark.
W – Warning labels on costumes and props are important as they provide advice. Make sure you read this before you buy!
E – Ensure you buy costumes from reputable sources that have been manufactured to a high safety standard.
E – Eye openings in masks should be large enough for your child to see clearly out of and loose enough to remove quickly.
N – Need more advice? Why not contact the Buy Wise Be Safe team via the website and pose your questions to the experts.
S – See that any costumes being worn by your child fit properly to avoid trips and falls.
A – Always check costumes for a CE mark, read the instructions and safety information associated with the product carefully before it is used.
F – Flames should be kept away from the child and costume. Considering using LED lights rather than candles or tea lights.
E – Ensure any masks or hoods are not able to restrict your child’s sight or breathing.
Focus on Fireworks
Our focus of #BurnsAwarenessWeek now shift to Fireworks with Bonfire Night now just around the corner. Understandably the biggest burns risk to Under 5s are these days leading up to November 5th with homes either purchasing fireworks to use in their own homes, or planning to visit an organised display and maybe take some sparklers along for their own use.
Did you know a sparkler reaches a temperature of 2,000 degrees centigrade when lit? Watch this video below to find out why safety is important, especially during this time of year.
Displays that are being held around your local area should be in plentiful supply. Not only will they have a professional company lighting the fireworks, which are likely to be industry grade so much more powerful and colourful (and therefore more enjoyable!), but they’ll likely have a team of stewards in place to make sure the public keep their distance and stay safe – while ensuring they have a great time. You’ll also likely be supporting a local cause.
Even though they will have stewards at the event, your children will always be your responsibility so always keep a watchful eye on them and be aware of their surroundings and yours.
We recommend that under 5s are not given sparklers to use at any time.
Also be aware of the actions of other people as they may have brought their own fireworks, like sparklers, for their own family to use. Always supervise what your children are doing and where they are at an event like a local display. But, while keeping them safe from harm, make sure they have fun and enjoy their time at the event.
It can’t be denied that young and old alike enjoy watching fireworks during this time of year. But while adults know not to touch the end of a sparkler, your young child may not know the hazards of doing just this. Children under the age of 5 should not be holding sparklers themselves.
If considering using fireworks for a display at your home, you may not know that many domestic fireworks sold require you and your family to be a minimum distance of 15 metres away. You can also be fined up to £5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally. With this in mind our recommendation is to read the instructions on all fireworks before you buy them, and again before you light them.
Only buy fireworks from a reputable source. All fireworks you purchase must have a CE mark to indicate they meet safety standards and must have instructions written in English!
You should also never return to a lit firework and you should never be holding a young child or baby while lighting a firework. Any fireworks lit, that fail to launch, should not be re-lit. Dispose of them in a bucket of water and don’t remove it for 24 hours. Keep your path back to a safe distance clear and free from obstructions.
Also, keep matches, lighters and flames out of reach and away from children – preferably out of sight so they don’t know where they are. Finally, make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands from any embers that may come off a firework when lit.
If you plan on leaving the fireworks to the professionals, but want to light a bonfire in your garden – there’s a number of things to keep in mind as well before lighting it.
Only light a bonfire if you stacked all the materials that you plan to burn yourself.
Never start piling wood a few days before as animals, like hedgehogs, will find this a perfect location to make a home. Stack up the materials you plan on burning on the morning of the day when you plan to light the bonfire.
Never put any compressed cannisters on a bonfire before lighting it or once it is lit. These can explode and be extremely hot missiles that could come towards you or your family.
Never pour any flammable liquids onto a bonfire that has been lit, or soak the materials you plan to burn in any fuel. The flames from this can be larger than you expect and create an uncontrollable fire next to your home!