Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night first aid advice from British Red Cross

This time of year can be lots of fun, but enjoying Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night does come with certain risks.

Here Tracey Taylor, a first aid education expert at the British Red Cross, looks at how you can avoid accidents and what to do in an emergency.

Bonfire Night

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“Most people don’t realise that sparklers reach temperatures five times hotter than cooking oil,” explains Tracey. “Fireworks can be fun if carefully handled but we want to make sure people know how to help if someone does get burned.

First aid tips to treat burns

“The key things to remember are to cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes, once cooled, cover it with cling film or a plastic bag and call 999 if necessary.”

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Why do you need to cool the burn?

“Cooling the burn will reduce pain, swelling and the risk of scarring,” Tracey explains. “The faster and longer a burn is cooled, the less the impact of the injury. If you don’t have access to water to cool the burn, you can use any cold liquid like juice, beer or milk.”

Why should you cover the burn?

“After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag – this 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.”

What if they are burned through gloves?

“If someone is burned through gloves (or other clothing) don’t try to remove the glove if it is stuck to the burn,” Tracey states. “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.”


“Pumpkin carving is fun, but even when little ones are carefully supervised accidents can still sometimes happen, and a slip of a knife can lead to some nasty cuts.

“If the wound is too big for a plaster to cover and is bleeding heavily then you’ll need to put pressure on the wound with a tea towel or clothing, call 999 and keep applying pressure.”

What to do if a child is choking

“If your child chokes on a sweet they collected whilst trick-or-treating and they are unable to speak, breathe, cough or make any noise, this means their airway is blocked and they need urgent attention.

“To dislodge the item give them up to five back blows between the shoulder blades, if that doesn’t work then move on to abdominal thrusts: hold the child around the waist and pull upwards and inwards above their belly button.

“If the object still doesn’t dislodge after five abdominal thrusts, call 999 and continue with cycles of five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until the object dislodges.”

Get first aid advice at your fingertips with the free British Red Cross First Aid app or Baby and Child First Aid app. Available for Apple via iTunes or Android via Google Play.

To find out more about the Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org.uk