Sparklers - First Aid for Fireworks


Sparklers, those little shiney glittery magnets for small children are actually quite basic in how they are made. Just like fireworks they contain a fuel, an oxidizer, either iron or steel powder, a binder, and wire. The most common mix is charcoal and sulfur as fuel, potassium nitrate as an oxidizer, and sugar or starch as a binder. Some will have a colour added. 

But beware just because at-home versions are possible doesn’t mean sparklers are harmless. Far from it. Temperatures of a burning sparkler can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperture at which sparklers can burn you is enough to penetrate the skin to cause a partial thickness burn and potentially worse in tiny children where the skin is very thin. Let's put that into perspective a hot cup of tea is approxiametly 185 degress Fahrenheit ! 
Luckily the area of which is can burn you is only small, but again a whole hand to a child is a large surface area. 
partial thickness burn
What should you do if someone is burnt by a sparkler?
When you are at a firework display you are unlikely to have the neccessary first aid equipment you need so you may need to adapt. 
  • Firstly, get something cool on it - bottle of water? Get to running water. 
  • Cool the burn for at least 20 minutes. 
  • You do not need to call an ambulance, although this type of burn is nasty, the child will be crying and it all happened very quickly. Unless the burn is a high pecentrage of the body, on the core of the body, the person had been on fire, the person is unconciousness, or having an immediate threat to their life. 
  • Once cooled for 20 minutes you will need to cover the burn in something sterile, this could be a burn gel and clingfilm if the event organiser has it, or something similar. 
  • Take the patient to the nearest minor injury unit or A&E. Burns needs to be fully assessed and may need specialist treatment in a burn unit.