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

family making a meal

The magic of the holiday season is upon us once again. This special time of year includes festive lights, bright decorations and joyful family gatherings. While the happiest time of the year brings with it many moments of joy, it also comes with the potential for burn injuries. Shriners Children's wants to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.

“There are a few burn injuries we sometimes see more frequently during the holidays that can be minimized with some preventive measures. Pots on stove tops, dangling kitchen cords, and hanging table cloths can be tugged by curious toddlers, causing scald burns," said Shriners Children’s Boston Chief of Staff Robert L. Sheridan, M.D. "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.”

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

Cook With Caution

Often described as the heart of a home, the kitchen is a particular focal point during the holidays. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, holiday cooking is a leading cause of residential fires each December. The kitchen comes with many inherent risks for burn injury. Keep these tips in mind while preparing your holiday meals this year.

  • Create a zone of safety of at least 3 feet around the stove for children, 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.
  • Keep hot liquids away from children. Make sure any soup, coffee or other hot liquid is kept towards the center of the table or counter.
  • 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. You can also wear a bib style apron, which covers the front of your body, typically from the neckline to the knees.
  • 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.
four children in kitchen



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. 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 of every three home Christmas tree fires is 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.
  • Before use, check all holiday light cords to make sure they are not frayed or broken. Discard lights with bare wires, frays or kinks.


Christmas tree safety may not be top of 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.
  • Remember to 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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