The summer months are a time when families enjoy doing many activities outdoors.
It’s also when barbecue grills and fireworks can cause devastating home fires and serious injuries to children.
Safe Kids Kansas reminds everyone to keep fire safety in mind to ensure families have a fun, safe summer.
It’s easy to understand why the sparkles and booms of fireworks are alluring to so many, but it’s also important to realize that fireworks can be dangerous.
Ninety-three Kansas children ages 0-18 were injured by fireworks last year, according to the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office, and many fireworks injuries are not even reported.
“It’s important to remember that fireworks are explosives,” said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas. “Even when they are handled correctly, fireworks can sometimes be defective or simply unpredictable.”
Even sparklers, which are typically viewed by parents as relatively harmless fireworks for children, cause serious burn injuries, accounting for one-third of the injuries to children under five in the U.S.
Grilling is considered to be a national summer pastime. But before you light up the grill, you need to know the facts and keep safety in mind. Gas grills were involved in an average of 7,100 home fires every year from 2006-2010 in the U.S., while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,200 home fires, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Grill fires at home are estimated to cause an average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 million in property loss each year in the U.S.
Safe Kids Kansas urges parents to practice these safety tips to reduce the risk of a home fire or a trip to the emergency room and ensure this summer is a safe one for your family.
- Only use the grill outdoors; position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, out from under eaves and overhanging branches and a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill. Supervise children outside around grills.
- Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because flames can flashback up into the container and explode.
- Never use gas to start a fire.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a grill.
- When cooking food, use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance away from heat and flames. Regularly remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it can’t ignite when the grill is hot.
Page 2 of 2 - - Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children that lighters are not toys.
- Dispose of hot coals by dousing them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
- If you smell gas while cooking on a propane gas grill, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
- Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
- Read and follow instructions on the package.
- Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
- Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Light fireworks only outdoors on smooth, flat surfaces, and aim them away from spectators, buildings, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
- Never try to re-light a firework if it doesn’t go off. Do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
- Do not carry fireworks in your pocket or hold them close to your face.
- Never modify fireworks or use homemade fireworks.
- Bottle rockets and M80s are dangerous and illegal in the state of Kansas. The use or sale of these banned fireworks is considered a crime under Kansas law.
- Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. How about this? Let your young children use glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun but they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.
- Keep a phone handy, and know first aid for burns.
- If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don't allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.
- The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.