Summer, Families and BBQ Safety

Last updated on October 5th, 2015 at 11:12 pm

family and barbecue grillIt’s official, the kids are out of school and summer is here. All the things that happen during the summer will soon be upon us and grilling on the barbeque is certainly on that list. The list of safety precautions for the 4th of July and fireworks is a mile long and will be on every news station for the coming weeks. What will not get too much air time is the list of safety tips for Barbeque grills and the dangers of grilling. Being in the Firefighting profession, I have seen what happens when people take the Barbeque for granted and do not give the grill the amount of respect and preparation it deserves. From terrible burns to adults and children to house fires, grills definitely deserves your attention.

Grilling facts from NFPA

Be sure to use safe grilling practices as the peak months for grilling fires approach – June and July. Gas grills constitute a higher risk, having been involved in an annual average of 7,200 home fires in 2007-2011, while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,400 home fires.

Facts & figures

  • In 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,800 home and outside fires. These 8,800 fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 140 civilian injuries and $96 million in direct property damage.
  • More than one-quarter (27%) of the home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, 29% started on an exterior balcony or open porch, and 6% started in the kitchen.
  • In almost half (43%) of the home outdoor fires in which grills were involved, half (51%) of the outside gas grills, and 29% of gas grill structure fires, the fire started when a flammable or combustible gas or liquid caught fire.

So while the grill is going and the steaks are on this summer, please remember that you need to be aware of the grill at all times. Now, when the grill and kids are brought together, there is an added level of awareness needed. Kids are naturally curious and that can be very dangerous when a live burning barbeque is involved so when the kids are around it is a good idea to introduce them to the barbeque and establish some safety rules such as a safety zone around the grill and not walking behind the grill and having a zero touching policy.

While at the Trauma center this past year with an adult patient, I met the parents of a 5 year old girl who was in surgery because their daughter had grabbed the grates on the grill and severely burned her hands. The father told me took his eyes off the grill for 1 minute to get a drink and that’s when his daughter went to the grill. It happens that fast.

So please be safe with the grill this summer. Have fun, eat well but be safe.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 05-26-2014 to 06-01-2014

Last updated on June 13th, 2014 at 10:41 am

twitter thumbWelcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter and Facebook to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 20 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
New American Academy of Pediatrics Report Recommends Iodine During Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding   http://t.co/aP5pqA3g8w

Teens and the Cold Water Challenge: Parents Beware!

Last updated on September 13th, 2015 at 02:19 am

Cold Water Challenge is the latest fund-raising fad.  Around the U.S. people are being challenged to jump in cold water to raise money for cancer charities.

The problem?

#ColdWaterChallenge can kill you!

I’m all in favor of engaging people to raise money for charities and of bonding communities together over causes that touch so many of our lives, but jumping into cold water is just plain dangerous.

Penguins dive into ice cold waterWe’ve all experienced it, the exhilarating and invigorating feeling when you plunge into cold water, even if it’s just a splash of cold water on your face on a blistering hot day.  It makes you feel vitally alive.  The problem is your brain and your body are thinking you are in danger of becoming quite the opposite – dead from extreme trauma.

The first reaction, that you may interpret as exhilaration, the racing heart and gasping breath, is actually self-preservation.  Your body will consider any water temperature below 70F to be ‘cold’.  If you can’t control the gasping breath immediately, you are in immediate danger of hyperventilating as your body tries to gather more oxygen.  If you pass out, the body’s natural self-preservation instinct to force you to breathe normally, you pass out in water and drown.

Let’s say you get your breathing under control pretty quickly.  Your body is still reacting to the extreme temperature surrounding your skin by constricting your blood vessels to conserve the warm blood for your heart and brain.  This can limit your ability to move, to even grasp a life ring or a pole to pull you out.  If you sink and there is no help or no one who understands that being under water for more than a minute or two could be fatal or simply not be able to get you out, you will drown.

Finally, if you are in for long enough, longer than the ‘plunge’, hypothermia will set in.  It’s unlikely the hypothermia will kill you if you never exited the water in the first place – again, you will drown first, you will lose the ability to get yourself out of the water.

Drowning can happen in 2 minutes in 2 inches of water.  A plunge into cold water can severely restrict your ability to save yourself.  Add alcohol to the equation, which opens your blood vessels and impairs your body’s ability to constrict the vessels and protect your brain and heart, and you have a definite recipe for disaster.

If you have teenage boys or 20-somethings in particular, be aware, and make them aware.  Just as most people are not even aware that drowning is an issue, they are probably even less aware that jumping into cold water can significantly increase your risk for drowning.

Can you help us stop this dangerous fad?

Tweet this:  #ColdWaterChallenge can kill you #stopdrowning.