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Shriners Children’s Offers Burn Prevention Tips to Keep Your Family Safe This Holiday Season

As the temperatures dip and the days grow shorter, we know the magic of the holiday season is upon us. The holidays are certainly a time of celebration, but they also come with an increased risk for burn injuries.

“There are a few burn injuries seen somewhat more commonly during busy happy holidays that can be minimized with a few preventive measures. Pots on stove tops, dangling kitchen cords, and hanging table cloths can be tugged by curious toddlers causing scalds, said Shriners Children’s Boston Chief of Staff Robert Sheridan, M.D. "Festive candles can ignite clothing causing flame burns. Overloaded outlets and chains of aged extension cords or poorly placed space heaters can result in fire. Attention to prevention will minimize tragic holiday injury.”

family in kitchen

As leaders in burn care devoted to the mission of educating the public on burn safety, Shriners Children’s has assembled tips to help families stay burn aware and celebrate the holidays safely.

Cook with Caution

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, holiday cooking is a leading cause of residential fires each December. The kitchen is often the heart of the home, but it comes with many inherent risks for burn injury. Keep these tips in mind while preparing your holiday meal this year.

  • Keep children 3 feet away from the stove, or consider the kitchen a kid-free zone during holiday meal preparation.
  • To prevent burns from hot food or liquid spills, use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from the edge.
  • Always pour hot liquids away from your body when transferring from one vessel to another.
  • Use the same technique when turning food in a pan, turn food away so any oil splatter moves opposite of your hands and body.
  • Wear short sleeves or roll sleeves up when cooking. Keep a lid or cookie sheet nearby to cover a pan if it catches fire.
  • Make sure that electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

Holiday Safety Tips

As we head into the holiday season, Shriners Children’s is reminding parents about the increased risk for fire hazards and burn injuries. We’ve put together a few simple tips for safe and festive celebrations with friends and family.
View Transcript

{Shriners Children's Logo}


{Holiday Safety Reminders} 

Kitchen & Cooking Safety

  • Push pots to back burner
  • Turn handles inward
  • Wear bib apron
  • Pour hot liquids away from body

Trees & Décor

Nearly 40% of holiday tree fires (live or artificial) are related to lights.

  • Check lighting for frayed or damaged wires
  • Unplug all lighting before leaving house and going to bed
  • Keep away from heaters or flames
  • Water live trees daily

Lit Décor

  • Keep candles on solid surface and away from other items
  • Trim wicks ¼” before lighting
  • Keep candles, matches and lighters out of reach of children
  • Consider flameless candles

{Shriners Children's Logo}


Candles can give your home a warm and festive glow for the holidays, but December is a peak time of year for home candle fires, with one-third of all candle fires starting in the bedroom. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles in your holiday decorations. If you do use flame candles, be sure to:

  • Never leave candles unattended or in reach of children.
  • Keep candles 12 inches from items that can burn.
  • Make sure they are in stable holders and place the candles where they cannot be knocked down easily.
  • Most importantly, do not put lit candles on the tree!


Flashing and colorful lights can help brighten up the cold winter nights, but one study found that nearly half of Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.

  • Remember to unplug the lights before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Never overload outlets. Use no more than three strands of lights on a single extension cord.
  • Discard lights with bare wires, frays or kinks.


Christmas tree safety may not be the first thing on your mind during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but sadly, every year there are Christmas tree fires that result in death. A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires.

  • Make sure your tree is at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk so it will absorb water.
  • Water your tree every day so the tree stand is filled with water at all times. A dry tree is an extra-flammable tree!
  • Dispose of your tree properly, soon after the holiday, before the needles dry out.

The team at Shriners Children’s hopes you keep these tips in mind and enjoy a happy and safe holiday season!

If your child, or a child you know, is burned, Shriners Children’s is the place to turn. As specialists in pediatric burn treatment for all injuries ranging from first-degree to fourth-degree burns, Shriners Children’s provides critical, surgical and rehabilitative burn care to children regardless of a family’s ability to pay or insurance status. Since entering the burn care field in the 1960s, Shriners Children’s has been at the forefront of research and discovery with innovations that provide the best outcomes for children with burn injuries.

For more information, visit Shriners Children's page on burn awareness and the resources provided by the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association.

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