According to the US Fire Administration*, holiday cooking is the leading cause of residential building fires in the month of December, accounting for 41% of fires overall. Heating fires follow at 28% and open flame fires at 9%. With more cooking, decorations and open flames, the risk of house fires and pediatric burns increases drastically during winter months.
According to Dr. David Herndon, M.D., Shriners Hospitals for Children-Galveston, there are three of pediatric burns that are common during the holidays – scalds from steam or hot liquids, contact with heat or flames and electrical burns.
Shriners Hospitals for Children recommends a few simple fire safety tips to ensure that you and your loved ones have a fire-safe holiday season.
- Keep trees away from heaters and flames.
- Water trees regularly. Discard when dry.
- Discard lights with bare wires, frays or kinks.
- Never use indoor lights outside.
- Keep an eye on what you fry.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so children cannot reach them.
- Wear short sleeves or roll sleeves up when cooking.
- Keep a lid or cookie sheet nearby to cover a pan if it catches on fire.
- Consider using battery-operated flameless candles.
- Never leave lit candles unattended.
- Place candles in stable holders away from children, pets and flammable objects.
- Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
- Have a fire escape plan for your home and practice it regularly.
As the experts in pediatric burn treatment, Shriners Hospitals for Children provides critical, surgical and rehabilitative burn care to children, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Since entering the burn care field in the 1960s, Shriners Hospitals has seen the survival rate double for children with burns over more than 50% of their body surface. Today, patients with burns over 90% of their body can survive and go on to lead full, productive lives.
Visit BeBurnAware.org for more safety tips, informative videos and educational materials.