New data suggests that fire pit injuries are on the rise in the United States, leading fire safety experts to urge consumers to exercise caution and engage in safe practices, especially when children are around.
At least 5,300 injuries related to fire pits were recorded by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2017, which is nearly triple the 1,900 injuries reported in 2008, according to a recent report by NBC News.
Back yard fire pits have become an increasingly popular item for households, which are frequently used during the spring, summer and fall seasons. Although a back yard fire pit may seem harmless, they can pose a danger for potentially serious injury, especially for children under the age of five.
The CPSC found that of the 5,300 fire pit related injuries, a quarter of the reports involved children under the age of five years old, and were often a result of lapse in supervision.
NBC reports of one of the most recent incidents involved a six year old Maryland boy, Jackson Rippey, who lost his balance and fell in an active fire pit. Jackson was rushed to a nearby hospital where he had to be transferred to the burn ward Johns Hopkins Children’s Center to be treated for first and third degree burns covering about 10 percent of his body.
As a result of the fall, Jackson had to be admitted for eight days where he underwent several skin grafts and painful cosmetic laser surgeries on his chest and collarbone. NBC reports he has made a full recovery except for the permanent scarring around his neck, hands and chest area.
The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) recommends always checking with your local fire department or municipality to make sure fire pits are allowed in your area. Rules can vary by the season, depending on weather conditions.
Children and pets should never be left alone around an active fire pit, or one that still has hot embers. NFPA recommends children should be kept at least 10 feet back from fires at all times, and to remind children of the safety rules before lighting a fire every time.
Fire pits can remain hot for a long time, and even into the next day, so children and animals should still be monitored when outside until the pit has cooled down completely.
NFPA officials recommend that if someone does experience a moderate burn, to use cool, not cold water on the burn for about three to five minutes and then cover it with a dry cloth. For above moderate to severe burns, individuals should visit an emergency room for treatment as quickly as possible to prevent infections.