The injury risks of Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night is over for another year, and although the vast majority of events will have passed off without problem, there are always a couple of horror stories that have come up.

One item of bonfire night paraphernalia that has come under scrutiny is the Chinese lantern, which has seen a surge in popularity in recent months.

The lanterns, which take the form of what is essentially a small hot-air-balloon powered by a small wax burner, have come in for stiff criticism since their popularity has soared.

As well as the Halloween period, they are now a regular fixture at weddings and other occasions throughout the year. They have been blamed for injuries to livestock, disruptions to air services and now injuries to people.

The Daily Mail carries a story this morning of a three-year old boy who suffered extensive burns to his face after a lantern dripped molten wax on to his face during a family party last Friday.

Cael Jones released a lantern along with 20 other children when the wax burner, about 8 inches square, became detached and poured its contents on to Cael’s face. He had to be taken to hospital and given morphine to cope with the pain caused by his facial injury. His parents are now calling for the lanterns to be banned.

A spokesman for the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service told the Mail:

“The lanterns, which are increasingly being used at wedding ceremonies and other celebratory events, do present a number of associated problems.

“Made of paper, they are able to float through the air due to their light weight and the heat generated by the small candle or oil inside.”

“From a fire point of view I don’t condone the use of these because of all the risks involved.

“In this instance a young person has been injured and there are other risks with them.

“In other cases the metal dropped has caused issues for livestock and some released on the coast are mistaken for distress flares.”

“There are other ways to send lights off into the sky which are not burning candles.”

Of course there are also the omnipresent risks associated with hosting home fireworks parties. In another story, reported by the Brighton News, a wayward incendiary found its way into the buggy of two-year old Alfie Wilkinson, whose family were throwing a bash after Alfie lost his dad the year before. His mother had to throw cold tea, which she was thankfully holding, on to his burns.

Although these incidents are isolated, it is always worth emphasising how careful people need to be when dealing with any kind of inflammable product.

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