Friends and family gather for Bonfire Night
Bonfire Night – a time when friends and family gather to ‘Ooo’ and ‘Ahh’ at the night sky as firework after firework light up the darkness with an almighty bang.

Whether you’re having your own party, attending a friend’s or off to a display, there’s a common risk that comes from celebrating with fireworks – burns.

But have no fear. We’ve got some top advice for helping someone with a burn this Bonfire Night.

Sparkler fun

A young boy and girl hold sparklers on Bonfire Night as an adult looks on

Bonfire Night isn’t complete without sparklers – loved by kids and adults alike. Watching the flames dance and hearing them crackle is all good fun. Unless…

A boy burns his hand on a sparkler as an adult

Ouch! Someone’s burnt themselves. They picked up a used, but still hot, sparkler.

What should you do?

A British Red Cross poll found that more than one in ten parents choose old wives’ tales to treat their children’s burns.

Mums and dads mentioned butter, spray-on cooling creams and even toothpaste as ways to deal with burns and scalds. But these won’t cool a burn.

The best way to help someone with a burn is with cold running water.

Here’s how.


First aid for a burn

1. Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes.

An adult runs a child's burnt hand under cool running water for at least ten minutes.Cooling the burn will reduce pain, swelling and the risk of scarring. The faster and longer a burn is cooled, the less the impact of the injury.

2. After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag.

After cooling a burn under cool running water for at least 10 minutes, this adult covers this child's burn with a clean plastic bagThis helps prevent infection by keeping the area clean. Cling film or plastic bags provide an ideal covering because they don’t stick to the burn and reduce pain by keeping air from the skin’s surface.

3. Call 999 if necessary.

The burn may need urgent medical treatment. Always seek medical advice for a baby or child that has been burned.

What if they are burnt through gloves?

If someone is burnt through gloves (or other clothing) don’t try to remove the glove if it is stuck to the burn. This could cause more damage.

Instead, cool the burn through the glove with cold running water for at least ten minutes and seek urgent medical treatment. If the glove is not stuck to the burn, you can remove it.

I don’t have access to running water. What should I do?

If you’re at a bonfire, you may not be within reach of running water. If you don’t have water to cool the burn, you can use any cold liquid like juice, beer or milk – the aim is to cool the area as quickly as possible using whatever cold liquid is available. Switch to cold running water when you have access to it.

Enjoy a safe and happy Bonfire Night!

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