Tips for keeping safe from common causes of outdoor burns.

Burn Safety - Outdoors

Summer Safety

Summertime is a special time of year filled with holidays, picnics, camping, travel and outdoor cookouts -- and chores like mowing the lawn.

Summer is a fun time, but it's also a great time for everyone to be aware of some basic safety information. Each year, the Paul Silverstein Burn Center sees patients affected by summer mishaps that could have been prevented.

Camping Safety

Campfires and burning coals at the beach are a serious but overlooked problem. Hot coals buried in the sand can retain intense heat for up to 24 hours. Anyone walking on hot coals can be severely burned. Adults should be cautious when a campfire or hot coals are present, and parents should always keep a watchful eye on children and toddlers.


  • Use a flame-retardant tent.
  • Use a flashlight inside a tent.
  • Heat or flame-producing appliances should never be used inside a tent or close to a tent.
  • Pitch tents at least 15 feet upwind from grills and fire pits.
  • Maintain at least a three-foot clear area, free of leaves, dry grass, pine needles, etc. around grills, fireplaces and tents.

Build a Safe Campfire

  • Secure necessary permits to build a campfire.
  • Scrape away grass and needles within a 10-foot diameter.
  • Use a designated fire pit if available.
  • Build your campfire or cooking fire downwind, far away from your tent.
  • Have water readily available prior to building your fire.
  • Children should never build a fire, even with adult supervision.
  • Never use a flammable liquid (especially gasoline) to start a fire or hot coals. Explosions can result.
  • Strictly observe all fire laws or ordinances and regulations.
  • Adults should always supervise children around fires.

Campfire Cooking

  • When near campfires and grills, wear snug-fitting, tightly woven, or short sleeved garments.
  • Make certain that everyone knows how to put out a clothing fire: STOP, DROP and ROLL.
  • When cooking or roasting marshmallows, make certain appropriate footwear and shoes are worn—no sandals or open-toes shoes.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Before you leave your campsite, make sure the fire is properly extinguished. Douse and stir with water.
  • An extinguisher of some type (e.g., shovel, bucket of water, fire extinguisher, etc.) is an essential piece of equipment for all campers. It could be a lifesaver.

Fireworks Safety

To help you celebrate safely this Fourth of July, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety offer the following safety tips:

  • Always read and follow label directions.
  • Have an adult present.
  • Buy from reliable sellers.
  • Use outdoors only.
  • Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket).
  • Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
  • Never give fireworks to small children.
  • If necessary, store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
  • Stay away from illegal explosives.