How to keep children safe around bonfires
According to the World Health Organization, fire-related burns are the 11th-leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 9 years old.
Dr. Aaron Traeger, pediatrician with Advocate Medical Group at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., recommends adult supervision around bonfires and to avoid distractions such as cell phones, alcohol or having too many children for the number of adults to handle.
The Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Council suggests the following outdoor fire safety tips:
- Beforehand, discuss the rules of good bonfire etiquette
- Do not wear loose clothing and make sure hair is tied back
- Avoid wearing synthetic or plastic jackets around the fire
- Do not poke sticks or throw garbage into the fire
- Establish a 10 foot area, which is clear of leaves
The U.S. Department of Agriculture also advises using a roasting stick of at least 30 inches long.
In the event that a child experiences a burn, knowing how to treat it quickly and efficiently is crucial for a speedy recovery.
“Most burns can be handled by running cool water over the wound and gently cleaning the area, but don’t put powders, grease or other home remedies on the burn.” says Dr. Traeger. “If the wound is not oozing, put some clean dry gauze over the area. If it is oozing, medical attention should be found.”
If someone’s clothes were to catch fire, they should stop, drop and roll to extinguish the flames, Dr. Traeger adds.
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