Staying Safe on Halloween and Bon Fire Night

Well it’s that time of year again the double act —   Halloween and Bon Fire Night with Christmas licking at our heels.  It can all be a lot of fun and if you are a parent a lot of work

The thing about Halloween is that yes the kids love it but it is also a huge hassle for the parents.  I for one am very pleased that I no longer have to do it. Finding costumes and trailing around our neighbours in what is ostensibly a begging sweet bowl is not my idea of fun.

And on top of this there is the safety aspect. This was brought home to us by Strictly’s Claudia Winkelman’s horrific experience a few years ago  when her daughter’s Halloween costume went up in flames. There is a lot of Halloween paraphernalia out there and sorting the good from the not so good is not always easy.  New legislation is hopefully on the way to make children’s fancy dress costumes come under the same safety regulations as children’s night wear but it is not there yet. At the moment there are several safety marks:

CE means it is safe to purchase. EN71 is the safety mark for children’s toys and children’s fancy dress costumes also come under this category. But if you click on the link below you will see why this is not stringent enough.  To be absolutely safe when buying one of these costumes make sure they have the British Standard (BS) 5722.

And then there is bonfire night which for me is the memory of when my teenage brother having hidden a box of fireworks under his bed and having a sneaky cigarette, watched the whole lot go up in one fell swoop including the top part of our house!

Of course this was a one-off and but sadly recent  figures  show that in the four weeks around bonfire night around 1362 people were treated in hospital casualty departments because of an accident with a firework.  Not surprisingly more boys than girls were injured.  So where do most firework accidents happen? Apparently over 40 per cent of all accidents occur at a family or private party and a further 30 per cent in the street or other public place with only around 10 per cent happening at large public displays.  Rockets cause more accidents than any other type of firework but even the common sparkler can cause accidents particularly with young children.  Nearly one in ten firework accidents were with sparklers. They are HOT and I mean super-hot and they remain one of the most dangerous fireworks in terms of accident statistics simply because they are taken for granted. Think about it – a metal rod with a thin coating of pyrotechnic compound which heats up to several hundred degrees Celsius!


  • Cool the burn with cold running water for at least ten minutes to stop the burning and relieve the pain. If cold water is not available, use another cold, harmless liquid such as milk.
  • Get medical help for any burn or scald which is larger than a 50p coin.
  • Remember to keep calm and give lots of comfort and reassurance to the child.
  • DO NOT remove burnt clothing which has stuck to the skin. Burnt clothing is sterile and will protect the wound
  • Remove carefully any jewellery, belts, restrictive clothing or footwear (that is not stuck to the skin) from the injured area before it begins to swell.
  • Cover the burn with a clean, dry, non-fluffy dressing and secure loosely. A plastic bag or piece of cling film is ideal.
  • DO NOT put butter, oil or any sort of grease or lotion on a burn or scald – these can cause further damage and increase the risk of infection.
  • DO NOT apply sticking plaster or any other type of adhesive dressing to the skin – they will cause pain and damage when removed.
  • DO NOT break blisters – you may introduce infection into the wound
  • DO NOT give the child anything to eat or drink, with the exception of painkillers.
  • Give the recommended dose of children’s painkiller syrup.
  • If clothing catches fire, get the person to stop, drop to the floor and roll them in a heavy material, such as a curtain.
  • Seek medical advice.

Sparkler safety  

Not for children under the age of 5.

  • Do not  hold a baby or child in your arms if you are holding a sparkler
  • Supervise young children very carefully
  • Sparklers should be held at arm’s length and should not be waved at other people nor should a child run while holding a sparkler. Children should wear gloves when holding sparklers
  • Do not wear loose fitting clothing  which may catch light easily
  • Sparklers can stay hot for a while after they have gone out so put them into a bucket of water or into the soil
  • Teach your children to drop sparklers to the ground as soon as they are finished or if your child becomes scared

General Firework information

  • Buy fireworks from a legitimate retailer and make sure they have the BS7114 number on them.
  • Be aware of elderly neighbours or those with young children. Some people can be frightened by fireworks.
  • Not all fireworks are suitable for small gardens. Check instructions in the daylight carefully.
  • Designate one person to be in charge of the fireworks and make sure everybody else stands behind a line.
  • Light fireworks at arm’s length with a taper.
  • Don’t go back to a lit firework.
  • Don’t put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  • Keep fireworks in a metal box with the lid closed in-between use. .
  • Keep pets indoors.


  • Bonfires should be at least 18 metres (60 feet) from the house, trees, hedges and garden sheds
  • Don’t use petrol paraffin or other flammable liquids, use a domestic firelighter instead.

For information on first aid courses near to you go to or call us on 0208 445 8998