Summer time is a great time to kick back and enjoy the warm weather. Unfortunately, summer is also a dangerous time for burn injuries. Hot surfaces, grills, summertime fireworks, and campfires can pose real risks. Children and minors are especially subject to summertime burn injuries. Among the offenders at this time of year:
1) Campfires. Everyone loves toasting hot dogs, marshmallows, and s’mores around a roaring campfire while telling ghost stories. Make sure that your campfire memories are all positive ones, however. Never allow children or teenagers to light their own fires unsupervised. Have an adult present at all campfires and keep a bucket of water as well as other extinguishers nearby to properly extinguish the fire and to keep it in check. Avoid having very young children around a campfire – they will be curious about the flames and may not know to avoid the fire.
2) Fireworks. Fireworks injuries cause not only burn injuries but also facial and head injuries each year. Fireworks are powerful enough to cause amputations and serious life-threatening injuries. Rather than having your own fireworks (which will necessitate having fireworks at home), visit a public fireworks display, where professionals work to ensure a safe fireworks display for everyone.
3) Fuel used in generators. If you use a generator at your cottage or summer home, make sure that the fuel for the generator as well as the genitor itself are kept well out of reach of children. Teach children to avoid the generator.
4) Camp stoves, grills, fire pits, and barbeques. When the kitchen gets overheated in the summer, many of us head outdoors for a grilled meal. However, the smells and food of your grill or barbeque may intrigue children. Always supervise grills, camp stoves, fire pits and barbeques closely and do not walk away from them, even for a minute. A minute is all it takes for a child to open a grill and burn themselves. Buy child-proof lighters and keep these as well as fuel sources well out of children’s reach. Finally, make sure that you set up your grill or barbeque well away from eaves, trees, bushes, and buildings to prevent a fire hazard.
5) Hot surfaces. In the summer, plastic toys, slides, and even asphalt sidewalks can all get hot enough to hurt a small child. While these injuries are not severe, they can hurt and can be severe enough to cause blistering and heat rash. Encourage your children to wear shoes rather than heading out barefoot. As well, cover outdoor playground equipment or set it up in the shade so that the surface remains cool. Keep a windshield cover in your car or run the air conditioner for a few minutes before seating your children so that they do not burn themselves on hot car interiors or seat belt buckles.
Summertime is a great time to check the batteries on your home fire alarms and a great time to review your family’s fire escape plan. Don’t forget these two vital activities before you dive into summer fun.