“Remember‚ remember the fifth of November‚” goes the old song‚ but it’s a day many would rather forget.
Guy Fawkes celebrations result in an escalation of “fireworks-related injuries in children” who get admitted every year at this time to the Red Cross War Memorial Hospital.
The department of health in the Western Cape said on Monday that eye‚ facial and hand injuries so often sustained by children in the proximity of fireworks could be prevented.
The department offered several tips to lower the risk of these injuries:
Children are more likely to get hurt by fireworks than adults‚ so keep a close eye on them at fireworks events. Don’t allow them to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event as some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
Keep children and observers at a safe distance‚ behind a protective barrier and away from anything that could catch fire. Babies and children can wriggle in your arms and reach out unexpectedly.
Never allow children to touch or handle matches‚ lighters or fireworks‚ including sparklers. Consider safer alternatives such as glow sticks‚ confetti poppers or streamers.
Keep fireworks out of reach of children. Even sparklers remain extremely hot and burn hot enough to cause third-degree burns.
Only discharge fireworks in designated areas identified by the city.
Avoid dressing children in loose or flowing clothes as they may catch fire.
The best treatment is prevention and the most effective way to avoid fireworks-related injuries is not to use fireworks at all.
Should a burn injury occur‚ cool the burn by keeping the affected body part under cold running tap water for 20 minutes to stop the burning process.
Should anyone sustain a burn injury involving flames‚ the victim should stop‚ drop and roll to put out the flames.
In the event of a firework injury affecting the eyes‚ seek immediate medical attention. Even for seemingly mild injuries‚ quick action can minimise the risk of long-term damage.
Do not rub or rinse the injured eye or apply ointment as it could increase the damage.