Summertime means lots of fun outdoor activities both during the day as well as at night. Whether it’s outdoor cooking or telling a story around the fire pit, both pose potential injury risk, especially for children. Kids love toasted marshmallows, but adults should be the ones to toast them. Remember marshmallows get hot and can burn.

Every summer Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin sees a number of injuries related to fire pit use. These injuries occur when the fire is being started, when it is roaring, but also after you think the fire is out. Never leave children unsupervised. Kids tend to not realize the danger with fire and are fearless when it comes to getting close to one. Children can be careless when walking or playing around a fire and get seriously hurt.

Here are some fire safety tips that you can use so that your summer doesn’t go to the “pits”!

  • Children are naturally curious so they must always be supervised when around a campfire.
  • Keep children at least 3 big steps (3 feet) away from the fire.
  • Have an adult start the fire to ensure that it is done safely and properly.
  • Remember: Coals and embers can stay hot for up to 24 hours after the fire is “out”.
  • To help make sure that the fire is out, use lots of water over the entire area, not just on the red embers.
  • Keep a first aid kit handy, just in case someone gets burned.

~ Barb Riordan, RN with Kristin Braun, APN, trauma coordinator

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s burn clinical practice group placed third in the 2011 American Burn Association poster contest. The poster highlights the dangers of fire pits. Members of the committee who created the poster include: Barb Riordan; Stacy Barry-Coffey; Colleen Baughn; Stephanie Clayton; Latoya Stamper; Matt Jandresevits; Jeanne Braby; Margaret Thew; Robyn Treder; Kristin Braun; Emily Dix; Jeanne Briscoe; Larry Susienka; and Shelli Kernan.

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