Barbecues, campfires, fireworks…why is it that so many classic summer activities involve fire? Burn-related injuries among kids have actually dropped 31 percent in recent years, according to a new study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, OH. But 120,000 children still wind up in the ER with serious burns every year. Study author Lara McKenzie, Ph.D., shares the best ways to keep your family safe.
Grilling? Dedicate a separate BBQ area away from where your kids usually play in the yard. “If they’re running around near where you’re cooking, it’s so easy for them to accidentally bump into the grill,” says McKenzie. And while most school-age kids know better than to touch a hot cooking surface (duh), they may not realize that the grill remains hot long after you shut it off.
Want to see some fireworks? Bring the family to a professional display–don’t DIY. “Many parents think sparklers are harmless, but they’re a leading cause of firework-related injury,” says McKenzie.
Eating outside on a nice night? Keep citronella and other candles off the dining table, where they’re apt to get knocked over or singe someone who’s passing the salt. Place them on a separate, stable surface off to the side.
Building a bonfire? Since it’s hard to be hypervigilant when you’re with a group, create a “no pass” ring around the fire (several feet away from the blaze in all directions) with rope or logs or rocks on the ground. Place your chairs outside the circle and instruct kids to stay on that side. Make sure an adult is always present.