Summer safety tips to avoid burns

Summer safety tips to avoid burns

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - With children home for the summer and the Fourth of July coming up, the risk of getting burned or injured rises, doctors say.

Bonfires, fireworks, grilling and exposure to the sun all create risks for burns on the skin, said Dr. Fred Mullins, president of the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta.

Here are some tips from the burn center to stay safe this summer:


  • Designate someone to be in charge of the fire, and ensure that they are in control of what is added to the fire and when.
  • Create a three-foot safe zone around the fire, using rocks or other non-flammable material, to encircle the burn area.
  • Keep the fire at a reasonable height. With flames, bigger is not necessarily better.
  • Store firewood away from the burn area.
  • Do not put paint cans, trash or other potentially dangerous items in the fire. Not only could these items explode, they may produce toxic fumes when burned.
  • Always douse the fire with water when the bonfire is over. Then stir the ashes with a shovel and douse them again. Mark the area clearly so that no one could accidentally walk through leftover hot coals.
  • Make sure everyone knows to stop, drop and roll if clothing catches fire. Call 911 or your local emergency number if a burn warrants serious medical attention.


  • Create a "blast zone" that is away from structures, people, dry grass and other flammable items. Fireworks should never be fired indoors.
  • Designate an adult as the safety person, another adult as the "shooter" and someone to be in charge of keeping children clear of the "shooting" area. Let children enjoy the show, not be part of it.
  • Make sure the "shooter" is not wearing loose clothing that could ignite, and follows all directions on the fireworks label. If the device does not have a warning and/or instructions label, do not fire it.
  • Get a flashlight to light the area so the "shooter" can see what he or she is doing.
  • Never stand over an item that does not fire.
  • Never throw fireworks. A malfunctioning fuse could cause the item to go off in your hand.
  • Ensure a fire extinguisher, hose or bucket of water is nearby just in case there is an accident.


  • Before using the grill, make sure it's at least 10 feet away from other objects, including the house or bushes.
  • Always follow manufacturers' instructions when operating a grill.
  • Never use a match to check for leaks.
  • Keep gas hoses as far away from grease and hot surfaces as possible.
  • Replace nicked or scratched connectors.
  • Check tubes for blockage from insects or grease using a pipe cleaner.
  • Never start a gas grill with the lid closed.
  • Never use barbecue grills indoors.
  • Keep lighter fluid container away from the grill.
  • Utility/barbecue lighters are not safe for children and should not be left outdoors where the elements may weaken or damage the plastic.
  • Always turn on utility light before you turn on gas or propane.
  • Always shut off propane tank valve when not in use.


  • Use sunscreen of at least 35 SPF and re-apply every 30 minutes.
  • Keep children under 1 year of age out of direct sunlight and avoid using sunscreen on any child under 6 months of age.


  • DO take a cool shower or bath, or use a cold, damp towel to apply pressure.
  • DO wear loose-fitting clothes that do not irritate the skin.
  • DO take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like ibuprofen.
  • DO apply aloe or lotion to help cool and moisturize the burn.
  • DO NOT use butter or oil as they may exacerbate the burn.
  • DO NOT burst any blisters, as this may encourage infection to set in.
  • DO NOT take prescription pain pills without consulting a doctor.



  • Never leave any unattended items on the stove top, and make sure all handles are out of the reach of children.
  • Never drink or carry hot liquids while carrying or holding a child.
  • Keep all hot items away from the sides of the table.
  • Remember, items heated in the microwave can be exceptionally hot and cause internal burns.
  • Try to avoid using tablecloths which could allow a child to pull hot liquids off a table.