Smoke alarms don’t always wake a sleeping child

During the cold, snowy Wisconsin winter nights, I like to enjoy a cozy fire in our fireplace, sip hot cocoa and bundle up in a warm sweater. Sadly, winter also means a higher risk of home fires.

Did you know that over half of home fires happen late at night when people are sleeping? A nighttime house fire can be devastating, but knowing a few facts may protect your family if you wake up in the middle of the night and smell smoke.

Kids sleep more deeply than adults, and that may make it more difficult to wake them during an emergency. I recently read a study that said young children often sleep through …Continue reading →

Thoughts on holiday fire safety

Holidays just aren’t the same without the traditional decorations. As you decorate your home and spend time with family and friends, please be aware of potential dangers from holiday decorations that could lead to fires and injuries.

Christmas trees: 

  • If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it’s fire resistant. It doesn’t mean the tree won’t …Continue reading →

Leaf burning poses hazard for kids

We’ve had some beautiful fall days lately and of course, living in Wisconsin, we’re never sure how many more of those we’ll get before the snow falls. These days are a popular time for bonfires and leaf burning, and in some communities they are very commonplace. They also can be dangerous to your child’s health.

Burning wood and other yard waste releases harmful particles into the air. These particles are too tiny to see, but they have the ability to travel into the deepest parts of your lungs. Just like cigarette smoke, the smoke from wood and leaves can cause irritation to the lungs, eyes, nose and throat.

Your kids may complain of chest tightness, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, burning eyes, a runny nose or sore throat. These symptoms can last for days after exposure to the smoke. If a child has asthma, symptoms may get worse, and he or she may even have an asthma attack. Children and individuals with underlying medical problems like asthma and allergies are the first to feel the effects of smoke, and are at the greatest risk for problems.

Here’s what you can do to protect your child’s health:

  • Avoid or minimize exposure to bonfires and leaf burning. If your child can’t stay indoors, protect him or her with a mask or a scarf over the nose and mouth.
  • If your child has asthma, make sure you have his or her rescue medications, usually an inhaler, readily available.
  • If your child has an underlying medical condition make sure he or she is taking the medications as prescribed by your doctor.
  • If your child has been exposed to smoke and is having trouble breathing, seek medical care immediately.

If you are burning to dispose of yard waste, please consider checking into alternate methods of yard waste disposal like mulching.
And, as always, take proper safety precautions to prevent burns.

Lauren Donovan, MD, fellow, Pulmonary Clinic, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Safe Kids and firefighters deliver fire prevention – and pizza

Don’t be alarmed if when you’re home next Thursday evening, Oct. 22, you hear the blare of fire truck sirens and see flashing red lights in your neighborhood. Firefighters may be responding to a call – or they may be delivering a pizza!

That’s because local fire fighters, pizza restaurants, Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin Coalition, Safe Kids Wisconsin Coalition and State Farm Insurance are teaming up for the eighth annual “Delivering Fire Prevention” event. It’s a program designed to bring fire prevention education to local families in a fun and original way.

To find out if your community is participating, check out If the fire department delivers your pizza and you have working smoke detectors, you’ll get a free pizza! If you have a smoke detector that isn’t working you will receive a free smoke detector. We even have a limited number of carbon monoxide detectors to give away. Everyone will receive fire prevention education materials from Safe Kids and a great experience.

…Continue reading →

Fire pits and ‘staycations’ keep kids’ burns on the rise

Long summer nights, fireflies, s’mores and outdoor fire pits. Who doesn’t enjoy these memorable signs of summer? Unfortunately, these joys of summer bring many potential accidents.

Campfires are the leading cause of children’s camping injuries, with burns accounting for 74 percent of injuries. Half of the children admitted to hospitals with burns are younger than 4.

As more families are having ‘staycations’ – spending their time off at home instead of going away on vacation – I’ve seen a rise in the number of fire pit-related burns. Kids are showing up at the emergency room and burn clinic in alarming numbers after falling into fire pits, touching metal lids of fire pits, inhaling smoke and flames, and burning feet and toes stepping on embers.

…Continue reading →