Barbecue Safety

Watch Children Around Open Barbecues

It’s barbecue season again, and parents need to keep an eye outfor their toddlers and young children to prevent burns. “Fromgrills to barbecue pits, parents need to make sure their childrenavoid any area near an open flame,” said Kim Davies, traumamanager at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. “This isespecially important as you begin heating up a grill – it’s nothot enough for food, but it’s hot enough to burn.”Grills are unstable and curious eyes might want a peek at what’scooking. Keep an eye out for kids trying to pull themselves up fora better view – the whole grill can topple on them and causesevere burn injuries.Davies also recommends cleaning grills of grease buildup beforeusing barbecues or grills. “Use lighting fluid sparingly anddemonstrate responsible behavior around fires. Demonstrating howquickly and how high a flame can get may entice a child to try thefeat on their own,” she said. “When you’re done, makesure the coals are completely out and not smoldering. Put alllighter fluid, matches and coals away from curious hands and makesure they’re kept out of reach when not in use.

Treating Burns

Treating burns should be left to experts, but there are somethings you can do to help alleviate your child’s pain. Dr. RobertWiebe, director of the emergency center at Children’s MedicalCenter of Dallas, recommends that parents first remove clothing orother covering. “Hot food and liquids on clothing are morecommon and can continue to burn tissues they cover,” he said.

If the burn is small, Wiebe recommends pouring cool water on theburn for about five minutes. “Cool water should only be usedon small burns, and must be used immediately to reduce the depthof the burn,” he said. “Ice, butter or ointments shouldnever be used.” Wiebe then recommends covering the burn witha dressing that is soft, clean and dry. “Be sure the coveringisn’t tight – swelling occurs around more serious burns.”

Finally, seek medical attention immediately. The larger the burn,the more urgent the need. “For less serious burns, contactyou family pediatrician,” Wiebe said. “The more seriousburns require emergency attention.”

Clean Up After The Barbecue: Dangers To Kids Abound

After a successful barbecue when the guest have gone it’s temptingto wait until later to clean up the yard, but medical personnel atChildren’s Medical Center of Dallas warn against it.”Depending on the kind of gathering you have, some dangersmay linger after the guests leave,” said Kim Davies, traumamanager at Children’s.

“Kids are curious and will taste anything that looksinteresting,” she said. Davies advised parents to pick up anydiscarded food, bottles and cans. “Children could drink frombottles that are half-full, which could be dangerous if the bottlecontains alcohol,” she sail. “Food that’s left-over fromthe night before could cause food poisoning.”

Davies also warns against leaving lighters, lighter fluid, matchesand coals within reach of children. “As soon as you’re donewith these items, securely confine them to areas that can’t beaccessed by kids. Fires and burns result when they try to emulatetheir parents and light a barbecue.”


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