NHS burns advice sought every 21 seconds over Bonfire Night weekend

The number of people visiting the burns advice page on the NHS website increases by a quarter (27%) during the weekend of Bonfire Night.

Figures from NHS England show that the burns and scalds advice page receives an average of 8,208 visits during the firework-fuelled weekend – equivalent to one visit every 21 seconds.

The increase in visits compares to an average of 3,241 visits per day during the rest of the year, based on figures from the previous two years (2021 and 2022).

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) advises that the safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a large public display as the risk of being injured is much lower than at smaller family or private parties.

The Firework Code explains that only adults should set up firework displays, anyone involved should avoid alcohol, and children and young people should be supervised at all times.

Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “While Bonfire Night is a great opportunity to celebrate with friends and family, we want everyone to enjoy it safely and so it remains vital to take great care around fireworks, fires and sparklers and to ensure that children are properly supervised at all times.

“We see a significant increase in visits to the burns page on the NHS website over the weekend of Bonfire Night and we’d encourage people to follow RoSPA’s advice on firework safety to stay out of harm’s way.

“The NHS website also offers information on the prevention and treatment of burns, as well as first aid measures, for anyone who needs it.”

RoSPA provides advice on its website on how to stay safe around sparklers, bonfires and fireworks.

Phil Le Shirley, Public Safety Advisor at RoSPA said: “Bonfire night can be a magical time for families and communities, and we believe the safest way to enjoy fireworks is by going to an organised display where there will be the appropriate safety protocols in place.

“However, we do recognise that not everyone can attend organised displays and may wish to have their own at home. We therefore advise those people to only purchase fireworks from licensed sellers, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and dispose of them safely.

“It’s also important to remember that sparklers are classed as fireworks and therefore are illegal to be sold to anyone under the age of 18, and that the law says sparklers should not be given to children under the age of five.”

The NHS burns and scalds page provides first aid advice on treating burns and scalds, such as:

  • Getting the person away from the heat source immediately
  • Removing any clothing or jewellery near the burnt skin
  • Cooling the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 to 30 minutes, and not using iced water or any creams or greases like butter
  • Keeping the person warm with blankets, not touching the burnt area
  • Once the burn is cool, covering it with cling film or a clean plastic bag
  • Using painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat any pain
  • Raising the affected area to reduce any swelling
  • Dialling 999 for acid or chemical burns, removing contaminated clothing and rinsing the burn with as much clean water as possible.

The NHS website is the UK’s biggest health website, with an estimated 2.6 million visits a day in 2022 from people seeking information and advice. It includes over 4,000 pages and provides information about 990 medical conditions.

For more information on the prevention, treatment and symptoms of burns, visit the burns and scalds advice page on the NHS website.