Fireworks still a danger after the fun

Julie Baker, ward manager at the Regional Burns Unit at The Children's Hospital, Sheffield.
Julie Baker, ward manager at the Regional Burns Unit at The Children's Hospital, Sheffield.
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Remember, remember – it is not just the fifth of November when youngsters are at risk of firework injuries.

Burns expert Julie Baker, a ward manager at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, has warned parents that children are more likely to be hurt after Bonfire Night on Tuesday.

Evidence from last year, when the hospital treated three children for serious burns in the days after November 5, has been cited in a fresh warning over the dangers of discarded rockets and bangers.

While cases were down from five in 2010, Julie and her team are urging parents and youngsters across South Yorkshire to stay cautious even when the firework frivolities are over.

She said: “We now see a lot less firework injuries on Bonfire Night than we did 10 or 20 years ago, because most people now go to an organised display where there are high safety standards.

“But we now see the injuries in the days after Bonfire Night, when children have picked up old fireworks which they’ve found lying on the ground, often after home firework displays.

“Most people are aware that you never attempt to relight a firework.

“But what people don’t realise is that, if an old firework has been on wet ground, it is still unsafe, as after a few days any remaining chemicals inside it will have dried off.

“There is a lack of awareness that simply picking up an old firework can be enough to reactivate these chemicals. The effects can be devastating, resulting in an explosion like a bomb going off.”

Sheffield Children’s Hospital has been running a poster campaign in the run-up to November 5. Doctors and nurses are also keen to dispel myths over the correct way to treat burns.

Julie added: “If the worst happens it’s important to apply only cool running water from the tap, or if there is no other water the garden hose will do. Never use ice or any other substance. Some people mistakenly think egg whites or butter are suitable for burns.

“Just call an ambulance and to get the person to hospital. We want everyone to have a good time but to be aware of the risks and take precautions.”