Besides fireworks, bonfires can also be a source of summer burns, particularly if there is drinking and carelessness around the fire, said Dr. Fred Mullins, the medical director of the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital.
And it is easy to make a mistake when lighting one, Mullins said.
“They put the gasoline on the fire to get it started, especially if it is a little bit wet,” he said. “By the time they go set the gas can down and come back to light the fire, so the gas can doesn’t blow up, the fumes are everywhere and it is the fumes that ignite, not the gas itself. That’s how you get big flash burns. People don’t think about it or don’t know about it. And they find out the hard way.”
Mullins recommends setting up a three-foot safety zone around the fire so people don’t get too close. Otherwise, children can start playing around the fire “and don’t realize they are so close to it,” he said. “And they end up falling in them.”
Mullins also recommends designating one person be in charge of the fire and controlling what goes into it, particularly to make sure paint cans or aerosol cans don’t get tossed in.
“If they throw an aerosol can in, it can act like a bomb and blow flames everywhere,” he said.
When it comes to fireworks, sparklers are a particular concern.
“The kids hold on to them too long,” Mullins said.
And, this time of year, there are fire hazards both inside and out.
Mullins said kids pulling down pots and pans with hot liquids in them are the source of many of the burns he sees this time of year.
“It’s a little bit of everything but with kids being out of school, the No. 1 thing we see are scald burns,” he said. The burn center sees scaldings year round but “it gets a little bit worse when people are out of school and spending more time at home because there is more access to that,” Mullins said.