A campfire in the backyard: safety tips on firepits

As cooler temperatures and holiday guests begin finding their way to the Valley, many families will prepare to gather around the new spot to build a campfire: the backyard. Fire pits have become more popular in recent years. You can find a variety of choices at local department and home-improvement stores. They are available in a wide variety of price ranges.

But a word of warning: firepits can spell danger for children without adult supervision.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children ages 5 and younger sustain the majority of the 120,000 child and adolescent burn injuries requiring emergency room care and treatment each year. Researchers suggest thermal burns caused by heat and fire accounted for nearly 60 percent of all child injuries.

Parents need to make sure to supervise kids around firepits.  Two Valley children were reported to have been injured last month when aerosol can thrown into a fire pit exploded.

Follow these basic safety rules from the Injury Prevention Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital:

  • Never leave children unsupervised around open flames, whether the fire pit is propane or wood.  After the fire has been extinguished, the area will remain hot and require adult supervision
  • Do not allow foreign objects into the fire, including glass, cans, paper (the ashes can blow out of the fire and cause injury) or trash.
  • No rough play around or near the fire pit.
  • Keep the size of the fire small and controllable.  Only adults should start the fire, and add wood to it.
  • Ensure that your fire pit is stable.  A freestanding fire pit might tip over, causing injury.
  • When roasting marshmallows or hot dogs over the fire, supervise children closely, ensuring that safe materials are used – a metal stick with a wood handle should be used.
  • Children should always know the rules around a fire whether home or visiting.
  • Extinguish the fire completely when you are finished using it.
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