From gooey s’mores to sharing ghost stories, campfires are a sure-fire way to get into the summer spirit. Just don’t let a burn put a damper on the fun and memory making.
Without burn prevention protocols in place, campfires can easily get out of control and leave lasting scars — both physically and mentally.
“Campfires are a leading cause of camping injuries,” said Dr. Anjay Khandelwal, director of Akron Children’s Paul and Carol David Foundation Burn Institute. “The flames and embers can reach very high temperatures, often igniting clothing and causing life-threatening third-degree burns. Children can be particularly vulnerable, especially if they are running or playing around the campfire.”
With big campfires come big responsibilities. So while sitting around the campfire with family and friends this season, be sure to follow Dr. Khandelwal’s Do’s and Don’ts for campfire safety and burn prevention.
Do’s for burn prevention around the campfire
- Do make sure your campfire is at least 25 feet away from any structure, trees or anything that can burn. Make sure to build the fire on gravel or dirt, instead of grass.
- Do use rocks or bricks to encircle the fire pit to keep the fire from spreading or getting too big. A fire can double in size in as little as 30 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
- Do keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher — and a first-aid kit — nearby in case flames get too big.
- Do keep flammable objects, including wood, clothing and aerosol cans, away from the fire.
Don’ts for burn prevention around the campfire
- Don’t ever use gasoline or other highly flammable liquids to start or accelerate a fire.
- Don’t build a campfire on dry, windy days because fires can more easily spread in these conditions.
- Don’t wear flammable fabrics, such as cotton blends, rayon and acrylic, because stray embers can easily ignite and burn them rapidly. Also, tightly fitted clothing is safer when cooking and tending to the fire.
- Don’t ever leave a campfire unattended. If you’re ready to leave, put out the fire completely using a fire extinguisher, water or dirt.
7 ways to keep kids safe around the campfireWhat to do in case of a campfire emergency
Unfortunately, accidents can and do happen. If your child gets a minor burn, first try to cool it down with cool water. Avoid ice and cold water because that can further damage the skin.
For more severe burns, seek immediate medical attention at the nearest Emergency Room if there is:
- Injury to the hands or face
- Breakage or blistering of the skin
Some of the best summertime memories are made around a campfire. Take these precautions with every fire to help keep you and your family safe from harm.