Child Safety

Burns

Introduction

Babies and young children have thin, delicate skin that damages easily. Their smaller body size means a small burn area can sustain a higher amount of damage. Babies are unable to move away from the source of heat therefore suffering the full effects for example should they roll up against a hot radiator they can easily get an arm or foot lodged against the hot surface.

Babies and young children will copy adult behaviour. As they are attracted by what is happening around them they soon learn to reach out for objects without understanding the risks items such as hair straighteners or irons pose.

Cause: most burns occur in the child’s own home, involving hair straighteners, cookers, irons and radiators. This theme is particularly relevant when exciting celebrations take place (Oct-Dec) we have included additional areas to highlight where the potential for burn injuries can occur and are heightened for example on bonfire night.

Fancy Dress Costumes 

Currently fancy dress costumes are not necessarily fire proofed or fire retardant as they are classified as toys, not clothes. Fire safety for toys is based on the ability of children to drop a burning teddy or run away from a burning play tent or wigwam. This often amounts to no more than having a ‘Keep away from fire’ label on the package but you can’t drop a burning costume or run away from it.

Burn injuries are difficult to treat and once a child’s skin has been burned it does not regain its flexibility and grow as the child does. This means a young burns survivor may have to endure years of medical appointments and or painful surgery.

Stop, Drop & Roll - Stop, drop and roll consists of three components to decreasing burn injuries from burning clothes.

Stop – The fire casualty must stop, any movement may feed oxygen to the flames or hamper those attempting to put the fire out.

Drop – The fire casualty must drop to the ground, lying down if possible, covering their face with their hands to avoid facial injury.

Roll – The fire casualty must roll on the ground in an effort to extinguish the fire by depriving it of oxygen. A rug for example can be used to roll the casualty in to speed up extinguishing the flames.

What to do in an emergency
  • Cool any burns immediately under cold water for at least 10 minutes.

  • Don’t touch the burn, apply creams. Covering area with cling film relieves discomfort and prevents infection.

  • If someone’s clothing catches on fire, get them to stop and drop to the ground and roll them any heavy material like a coat, rug.

  • Get medical advice for any burn on a child larger than a postage stamp.

  • Get advice from a doctor, the A&E department at your local hospital.

  • If the burn involves a child’s face, hands, feet, joints or genitals always contact a doctor.

Fireworks

Watching fireworks is great fun, but taking extra care is important. The noise, colours and patterns fireworks make easily attract children to get close and more likely to get hurt.

General safety reminders
  • Children under five are too young to safely hold a sparkler and don’t really understand why they might be dangerous.

  • Babies can wriggle in your arms and young children can reach out unexpectedly. When you a holding a lit sparkler avoid holding a baby/child and hold high enough to be out of reach.

Safety reminders for your own event
  • To remain safe on bonfire night local organised events provide a safe environment to view a firework display and where adult’s attention can remain on the children. If you are holding your own or going to a friend's, it’s good to remember the following things.

  • Children need continuous supervision. Use a marker, like a rope, for the children to stand behind at a safe distance from the display.

  • Use a torch – rather than a naked flame - to read instructions.

  • Remember to light a firework, hold the firework at arm’s length and light it with a taper or firework lighter.

  • Store fireworks out of reach and in a metal box eg empty biscuit tin until you are ready to use them.

  • Be a positive safety hero and never throw fireworks including spent ones onto a bonfire.

  • To ensure high levels of supervision during the display adults should avoid alcohol consumption especially by the person responsible for lighting fireworks.

  • Don’t go back to it once a firework has been lit. Sometimes they can be very slow to get started and may take you by surprise.

  • The safest place for a bonfire is at least 18 metres (4 small car lengths away from buildings including sheds and surrounding fences, trees and hedges.

  • After the display is finished, collect spent firework cartridges immediately using gloves/tongs. Avoid children helping with this task as used fireworks can remain hot as well as contain poisonous chemicals..

What to do in an emergency
  • Cool any burns immediately under cold water for at least 10 minutes.

  • Don’t touch the burn, apply creams. Covering area with cling film relieves discomfort and prevents infection.

  • If someone’s clothing catches on fire, get them to stop and drop to the ground and roll them any heavy material like a coat, rug.

  • Get medical advice for any burn on a child larger than a postage stamp.

  • Get advice from a doctor, the A&E department at your local hospital.

  • If the burn involves a child’s face, hands, feet, joints or genitals always contact a doctor.