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Preventing Summer Burn Injuries in Florida

Every year in Florida, burn injuries cause serious suffering and even fatalities. Burn injuries to minors and children can be especially devastating and can cut short a life of promise. Summer is a peak time for Florida burn injuries of all types, from minor sun burns to life-threatening facial and body burns caused by fires. Barbecue grills and fireworks are the leading causes of fires and burn injuries in the summer, but in many cases the injuries they cause are preventable.

Barbecue grills can cause burn injuries and other serious injuries two ways: by igniting a home or by causing direct burns. To prevent your grill from starting a fire, make sure to keep your barbeque at least ten feet away from eaves, siding, and any flammable areas (such as trees or bushes). Never use a fire pit, grill, or barbeque in an enclosed area, such as a garage.

A well-maintained and correctly working barbeque is less likely to cause burn injuries than a fault one, so before each use, check your barbecue over carefully. Check for leaks in the connections and hoses and ensure that there are no blockages in the venturi tubes where air and gas mix. Make sure that your propane tank is filled correctly (not overfilled) and free of leaks. Use a tank that has a three-pronged valve, as this protects you from overfilling your propane tank.

Keep in mind that even if your barbecue does not start a fire, it still is a burn hazard each time it is lit. Use the right starter fluid for your barbecue and avoid adding more fluid once the barbecue is lit. Avoid loose-fitting clothes when barbecuing, as these can easily catch on fire. Protect yourself with implements and tongs designed for the barbecue and stand clear of your barbeque when cooking. Avoid having any children near your grill, barbecue or fire pot. The edges of these items can get hot enough to severely burn a child in just one minute. Even a child just brushing past a closed grill can sustain serious burn injuries.

In addition to grill and barbecue burn injuries, many children and adults each year are severely burned by fireworks in Florida. While Florida’s waterways and backyards are often tempting settings for fireworks, and while it is relatively easy to obtain fireworks in Florida, these items are just not safe. All experts and medical doctors agree that it is safest to leave fireworks to professionals. Many children and adults sustain serious eye injuries, burn injuries, and other injuries from fireworks each year. Many Florida head injuries are also caused by fireworks. This is one form of summer entertainment that is safest left to the professionals.