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  Make It a Safe Summer – Grill and Fire Safety
July 16, 2008

As the summer begins to heat up, so do the sands at the beaches, backyards, and recreational areas with grilling and cooking fires.

Injuries to children from stepping or falling on burning coals have dramatically increased over the years.

Hot coals buried just below the surface of the sand or in the backyard can retain intense heat for up to 24 hours. Anyone who walks, falls or crawls on them, especially children, can be severely burned. These coals are especially dangerous to children have thinner skin that is more susceptible to serious damage from burns than the skin of adults.

Hot coals should always be disposed of in a designated container or doused with cold water.

“We see children every summer who have been injured by stepping on hot coals carelessly disposed of after a cooking or recreational fire,” says Martin Eichelberger, MD, division chief of the Emergency Trauma and Burn Services at Children’s National Medical Center. “We are working to alert area residents to the hazard posed by hot coals and other summertime fire and burn hazards.”

Grill and Fire Safety Tips
  • Do not leave children alone near open flames, stoves, or candles.
  • Keep matches, gasoline, lighters, and other flammable materials out of children’s reach.
  • Douse hot coals and campfires with cold water, then dispose of coals in proper designated containers.
  • Keep all hot foods and liquids away from counter edges and out of the reach of children.
  • Never carry children and hot foods or liquids at the same time.
  • Keep things that easily catch fire (such as napkins, paper plates, and matches) away from heat sources like campfires, grills, stoves, and fireplaces.
* Sources: Safe Kids Worldwide, American Burn Association, and Phoenix Society