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Experts weigh in on keeping children safe around bonfires, grills this summer

Preventing grill, fire pit injuries
Preventing grill, fire pit injuries

DETROIT – Many families enjoy spending time at backyard barbecues or gathered around a bonfire, which puts more children and teens suffering accidental burns.

Doctors who treat burns want parents to understand how common they are and what they can do to reduce the risk of injury.

“We see a fair share, frankly speaking, of touching the grill touching the surface, food falling over. All of those are pretty common occurrences unfortunately,” Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital Dr. Purva Grover said.

Grover said she’s seen all kinds of burn injuries over the years at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. She said small children often get too close to the grill or the firepit. That’s when they can accidentally grab something or be hit by falling food. She said constant adult supervision is key.

For older kids and teens fire pits pose a major risk. That age group is often tempted to throw random items into the fire, which can be incredibly dangerous.

Safety experts warn that trash, plastic, cardboard, wet wood and accelerants should never be used. Fire pits also pose a major threat after the flames die down. Embers can stay hot enough to cause a severe burn for up to 12 hours. Pouring water on embers until they cool completely reduces that risk.

Very minor burns can be washed with cool water and wrapped in gauze. Seek help immediately for anything serious.


About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.