Doctors see uptick in fire-related injuries as temperatures drop

Posted at 4:34 PM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 17:34:39-04

Fire-related injuries tend to increase when temperatures decrease. On Saturday, a toddler was pulled out of a fire pitby a sibling in Maury County, and airlifted to the burn unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

Dr. Callie Thompson is a burn and trauma surgeon at VUMC. With four kids at home, she said they have many discussions on fire safety.

"I know I might be a little bit of a killjoy but everybody sits on their bottom, no one jumps around the fire, no one plays around the fire, no one pushes anyone around the fire, because it's just ultimately not worth it," Dr. Thompson said.

If your kid is outside near a fire pit or bonfire, make sure they're wearing tight fitted clothing. Parents should put long hair in a ponytail, and have a 'no running' rule. 

"There should also be someone who looks around the fire before there are children present and see if there's anything like rocks or tree branches that the kid could trip over and fall into the fire," said Dr. Thompson.

Above ground fire pits with large basins can also be hazardous.

"And so with the grates people think 'Ooo it's safer,' but we actually see a fair number of contact burns when they fall in. It's kind of like falling on a stove so they can get contact burns that way and then just fully tripping and falling into a fire is also very dangerous," said Dr. Thompson.

Worst case scenario, and your child is burned-- pat them down, strip them of their clothing, and keep them warm and dry until help arrives.

"Anytime you're having an outdoor fire, you should definitely have a bucket of water handy. Especially for a kid who isn't going to remember to stop, drop, and roll," said Dr. Thompson.

Firefighters recommend building a secondary rock wall around your fire pit to create a barrier for kids too.