Burn injuries increase during Thanksgiving holiday - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Burn injuries increase during Thanksgiving holiday


"I got burnt right here," says Dondrel Roberson, pointing to his right forearm before pointing to another spot on his left. "And I got burnt right here on my arm."

The small burns on Roberson's arm are to be expected when you're frying over 400 turkeys in a single day, like they were at WifeSaver on Washington Rd. Wednesday.

Thankfully for Roberson, none of the burns are anything to be concerned with.

Unfortunately, thousands of Americans aren't as lucky this time of year.

"Every holiday season gets busier, especially around Thanksgiving," says Joseph M. Still Burn Center Medical Director Dr. Fred Mullins.

Mullins says the number of burn injuries increase during the holidays, many the result of an attempt to deep-fry a turkey gone awry.

"That oil heats up to 350-plus degrees," says Mullins. "If it gets on you, it can burn instantly and burn very deeply."

Mullins says if you don't want to spend your Thanksgiving in the burn center, it's best to follow a few frying tips.

"Make sure you do it outside in a well-ventilated area. Not inside, not in a garage," he says. "You need to make sure the kids aren't around and make sure you aren't drinking."

And never try to fry a frozen turkey Mullins says.

The combination of the oil and the water on the turkey will create an explosive mixture.

"It's like a bomb going off," he says.

And if do burn yourself, always make a trip to the emergency room.

But before you do, Mullins says, cool off the burned area by running it under cold tap water. Don't ice it, as that cause further complications.

"Don't put it in ice because you can make it worse by doing that because it becomes a frostbite injury," he says.

The best way to avoid a Thanksgiving turkey disaster they say, take your time and stay aware.

Doctors Hospital and the Joseph M. Still Burn Center encourage everyone to take the following precautions this Thanksgiving:

Tips to prevent holiday burns:

  • Establish the kitchen as a kids-free zone before cooking even begins


"Burns to children are usually more severe and the scars from their injuries can last their entire lives," Dr. Mullins said. "Each year, we see injuries from children who touched a hot stovetop, or have pulled a pot of hot food down on top of themselves."


  • Make sure all pot handles are turned inward and any appliances that get hot, such as a toaster oven, are well out of a child's reach.
  • Keep a close eye on cooking surfaces to ensure that flammable items like potholders, containers and food wrappers are not too close to each other.
  • Taking the cooking outside, such as when frying a turkey, does not lessen the danger or diminish the need to be careful. 


How to safely fry a turkey:

  • Think small; purchase a turkey that is less than 12 lbs.
  • Check your oil levels to prevent spillage  out of the sides of the fryer and into the flames causing a fire

How to ensure you have the correct oil level:

  • Place the turkey in the empty pot. Then slowly fill the pot with water. When the water level reaches 2 inches above the turkey, pull the bird out and then measure the water level. Pour out the water, dry the pot and then fill to the measured level with oil.


Other fried turkey tips include:

  • Check the turkey to make sure it is not partially frozen and does not have any excess water on it. The water can cause hot oil to splatter. It also helps to pat down the bird with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  • The fryer should be used on a well-ventilated, level, outdoor surface.
  • Make sure the pot is never left unattended, and children and pets are kept at a safe distance.
  • Use only peanut, canola or safflower oils in the fryer.
  • Use care when touching the handles of the pot.
  • Make sure the deep fryer has a thermostat to regulate the temperature of the oil.
  • Slowly lower the turkey into the pot to avoid spillage.
  • Make sure a fire extinguisher is nearby that can put out a grease fire, just in case an accident occurs. Water should never be used to try to extinguish a grease or oil fire. Always call 911 in the event of a fire.
  • Remember that it may take several hours for the oil in a deep fryer to cool.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol drinking when using a deep-fryer.


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