As the weather warms up, we’re spending more time outdoors and that means cooking barbecues! While a barbecue can be a great way to get together with family and friends, there are some hazards – especially for young children. Dr Elizabeth Guingi from Concord Hospital’s Emergency Department explains how to keep your outdoor cook-up safe.
“Supervise children very closely when the barbecue is on. Make sure they can’t access the controls and never leave a hot barbecue unattended”, says Dr Guingi.
Before you even fire up the barbecue, it’s best to check the gas connections to make sure everything is in safe, working order.
If an accident happens and a child is burnt, remove clothing and jewellery from the burnt area and hold it under cool, running water from the tap for 20 minutes.
“The cool water helps to prevent further damage and is still useful up to three hours after the burn”, says Dr Guingi.
After treating with running water, wrap the burnt area in cling wrap and see your doctor.
For larger burns which are greater than 10% of the body, or if a child is unconscious or has difficulty breathing, call 000 for an ambulance. If the child is in significant pain, or the burn is to a sensitive area like the face, neck or hands, take them to your closest hospital Emergency Department.
Importantly, Dr Guingi says NEVER apply butter, oil, toothpaste or ointments to burns. This can cause more damage. Running water from the tap is the safest and most effective form of first aid for a burn.