Summer Safety Campaign – Week Four


            Back in week one of our Summer Safety campaign, we warned about the risk of burning from prolonged exposure to the sun. But the sun isn’t the only thing you have to worry about burning your child. In the height of summer sunshine some metal objects could heat so much so that they may burn your child. Evenings in the garden will, obviously, be cooler with less risk from sun burn – however, the risk from other things then increases.


            If you plan on using a BBQ you will need to ensure all young children in your home do not touch an open flame. But does your child also know not to touch coals, where a flame may not be visible? Once a BBQ has been used, the coals can retain their heat for a long time. If you are using a disposable BBQ, be sure to pour cold water on the coals and educate your little ones to stay well away. As with everything, supervision is key and make sure you do not leave a lit or hot BBQ unattended.
The UK’s fire service provides the following general tips regarding the safe use of a BBQ;

  • Make sure your barbecue is in good working order.
  • Ensure the barbecue is on a flat site, well away from a shed, trees or shrubs.
  • Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area.
  • Never leave the barbecue unattended.
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies.
  • Ensure the barbecue is cool before attempting to move it.


Charcoal Barbecues

  • Use only enough charcoal to cover the base to a depth of about 50mm (2 inches).
  • Only use recognised fire lighters or starter fuel and only on cold coals – use the minimum necessary and never use petrol.
  • Never put hot ashes straight into a dustbin or wheelie bin – they could melt the plastic and cause a fire.


Gas Barbecues

  • Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder.
  • Change cylinders outdoors if possible or in a well ventilated area.
  • If you suspect a leak to the cylinder or pipe work, brush soapy water around the joints and watch for bubbles – tighten to fix but do not overtighten.
  • After cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before turning off at the controls to ensure any residual gas in the pipe work is used up.

Finally please do not use a BBQ as a source of heat in an enclosed, unventilated space, like a tent. The coals, when cool, will produce Carbon Monoxide which can be deadly.


Fire Pits, Incincerators and Torches

            Sources of fire are often placed around the garden in an evening, for decorative purposes. Fire pits and torches can look lovely, but do pose a threat to young children. As our advice says in the Burns section of the website a child’s skin, in the age category of 0-5, is 15 times thinner that the skin of an adult.

If loading fuel into a torch, follow the manufacturers guidance and be careful not to overfill. The same applies to fire pits and incinerators, overfilling can result in flames appearing outside of the units.
Also, if you have lit any item that requires ignition to work, do not leave unattended.