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news News Tuesday, July 2, 2019 Monday, June 25, 2018 1:02 PM - Monday, June 25, 2018 1:02 PM

School's out! Time for a lesson in summer burn safety

By Melissa Gorman MSN, RN-BC, CCRN, clinical education coordinator

School's out! Time for a lesson in summer burn safety

School is out and summer is here! While enjoying the warm sun, campfires and fireworks, remember that burn prevention is vital year round. The following tips can help prevent these burn-related injuries in children.


In addition to being painful, serious sunburns can increase the risk for skin cancer later in life. The following tips can help minimize your child’s risk of sunburn.

  • Keep infants out of the direct sun and dress them in a hat and lightweight clothing that protects the arms and legs.
  • For children and infants over 6 months, liberally apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater to all exposed areas.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours, or more often if your child is playing in water or sweating.

Campfire burns

Campfires and fire pits are a popular summertime activity, but pose a safety risk. Some tips to decrease campfire related burns include:

  • Never use an accelerant such as gasoline on or near the fire.
  • Establish a safe zone (at least 3 feet away from the fire) where children are not allowed to enter.
  • According to the American Burn Association, 70% of campfire burns are caused by embers rather than flames and fire pits can retain heat for up to 12 hours after being extinguished.

Firework safety

We often associate fireworks with summer fun. According to the American Burn Association, more than half of fireworks injuries occur with people under the age of 20 years.

  • Leave the fireworks to the professionals! Observe all local laws and enjoy professional shows at a safe distance.
  • Never allow children to handle fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers can reach 2,000° F. Consider safer alternatives for children such as glow sticks.

Burn first aid

If your child gets sunburned, apply cool compresses for 10-15 minutes at a time. Use an over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol and ensure he/she is well hydrated. Contact your health care provider for a fever, blisters, sunburn in an infant, eye pain, dizziness or signs of dehydration.

For all other burns, stop, drop and roll to extinguish flames if clothing catches fire. Cool the burn with cool water (not ice), remove all clothing from the injured area, cover with a clean dry sheet or bandages and seek medical attention. When in doubt, call 911 for help.