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Summer Tips from Shriners Children's: Grilling, Campfires and Fireworks

There are so many activities associated with summertime fun. Whether you enjoy campfires at the beach, grilling burgers at the lake or experiencing the beauty of a fireworks-studded sky, don't forget safety! Read on for some Shriners Children's summer safety tips.


“Burn injuries in the summer are not solely due to fireworks,” said Petra Warner, M.D., FACS, chief of staff at Shriners Children’s Ohio. “More common injures are burns from touching the grill or walking on the ashes of a firepit. We recommend caution when being outside near anything that has fire related to it."

Grilling is a summertime must! Those delicious hotdogs and hamburgers go well with some seasoned vegetables, tasty potatoes and savory corn on the cob. Your barbeque feast will be even more enjoyable if you remember these important tips:

  • Fire escapes and balconies are not safe places to use a grill.
  • Grills are great – for outdoor use! When setting up your grill, position it away from siding, deck railings, tents, trees and play areas.
  • When using a charcoal grill, never use gasoline as an accelerant and keep matches, barbeque lighters and other flame sources out of reach of children.
  • Keep the grill lid open when turning on the gas or lighting the grill. A closed lid could cause an unexpected explosion leading to serious injuries.
  • Leaning directly over a grill creates risk of injury, so keep your distance when flipping those burgers.
  • A clean grill is a happy grill. Clean your grill frequently, removing food crumbs and residue that could catch fire.

Patient Ambassador James grills banana boats with Weber Grillographer #shorts

James and Grillographer Mike (grill photographer) shows us how the whole family can help grill banana boats! Plus, James reminded us of some important grilling guidelines to prevent a burn injury. A special thank you to Mike and Weber Grills for letting Shriners be part of the summer grilling season! #shorts
View Transcript

Speaker 1: Let's kick off summer grilling season with a recipe the whole family can enjoy together. Banana boats are a creative way of bringing children into the cooking process, and most importantly, they're delicious. Now, to help out, I brought my friend James, a patient ambassador with Shriners Children's Ohio to help build our boats. Now, James, we talked about some important safety lessons when it comes to grilling. What are they?

James: Never cook without an adult watching, you don't touch pots and pan without permission because they may be hot, and first bite always goes to the youngest chef.

Speaker 1: Can we negotiate that?

James: I'll think about it.

Speaker 1: All right. The first step is to prep our banana butts. We're going to go ahead and cut a slit in it with a sharp knife, the key is not to go all the way through the banana, and once we have the slip made, it's your time squeeze together and make a pocket. Perfect. Take some marshmallows. We're just going to put them right inside that pocket. What do you think goes next?

James: Nuts.

Speaker 1: You better believe it. I like marshmallows, how about you?

James: Love them.

Speaker 1: Guess what the last thing is going to be.

James: Chocolate.

Speaker 1: Chocolate it is. All right, James. The bananas are stuffed. We're going to get the grill set for indirect medium heat. And this is where those rules that we talked about earlier are really important. We've set up a circle of safety. It's about a three-foot ring around the grill where James and other kids should never cross when the grill's in use. The burn care experts at Shriners say this is a good rule of thumb for campfires and even indoor fireplaces. Metal grates or embers can still cause serious burns even hours after the fires have extinguished.

James: Mike is going to grill the bananas until the peel has darkened and a chocolate and marshmallows have melted. It should take around 15 to 20 minutes.

Speaker 1: All right. While we're waiting, James, why don't you tell me how you became an ambassador for a children's hospital?

James: I was burned in a big fire when I was a baby. The doctors and nurses at Shriners took care of me until I was ready to go home. It may look a little different than most kids, but I can do the same things they can do.

Speaker 1: I think you have what it takes to be a grillographer. Now, tell me, do you still go to Shriners?

James: Yep, they'll take care of me until I'm a grownup. For now, I tell families how amazing Shriners is now doctors and nurses can help them too.

Speaker 1: That seems like a really important job, but you know what? I can see why they picked you. Now, most importantly, let's go check on the bananas.

James: Yes.

Speaker 1: What am I missing, James?

James: Ice cream.

Speaker 1: Of course. Let's try it. Oh, there you go. Is this something you'd make with the family?

James: Yeah, and I know exactly what I want to grill next.

Speaker 2: Learn more about our specialty pediatric care at

[Shriners Children's logo]

Speaker 1: One take. James, good job. One take James.


“Summer is a special time with so much opportunity for fun in the sun and creating memories with loved ones. Always remember to keep safety in mind while making those memories. So don’t forget to apply that sunscreen and establish a safety zone around that grill. At Shriners Children’s, we want families to be burn aware so they can enjoy a safe and happy summer season,” said Robert L. Sheridan, M.D., chief of staff and director of the Burn Service at Shriners Children’s Boston.

Summer nights are wonderful opportunities to spend time with friends and family around campfires and fire pits. So go ahead, roast some marshmallows, and make some s’mores! Before you enjoy those tasty treats, learn how to decrease the risk of campfire-related burns:

  • Keep accelerants like gasoline far away from the campfire and do not use on the campfire itself.
  • Make sure the fire pit is at least 3 feet away from your house and anything potentially flammable.
  • Establish a safe zone (at least 3 feet away from the fire) and show children where they can safely enjoy the campfire. If age appropriate, invite children to help with measuring the area around the campfire and marking the perimeter.
  • Know your facts – according to the American Burn Association, embers rather than flames cause 70% of campfire burns, and fire pits can retain heat for up to 12 hours after being extinguished.
  • Using a metal screen over wood-burning fires is an effective way to keep sparks from floating out.
  • When you are finished enjoying the campfire, completely extinguish the fire and coals by pouring water, stirring carefully, and then pouring more water until it is cool.
  • Did you know that burying a fire is not a good way to extinguish it? The area will stay hot for quite some time and someone could accidentally step on it, resulting in a burn injury.
group of people sitting around a campfire


“There are no safe fireworks for adults or children,” Warner said. “Even hand-held sparklers burn at 2,000 Fahrenheit, which can easily cause an instantaneous burn. That’s why we recommend leaving fireworks to the professionals and enjoy them at a community celebration rather than your own backyard.”

Fireworks bring beauty to summer nights, so enjoy those gorgeous displays but always keep safety in mind when using fireworks. In 2020, fireworks were involved with an estimated 15,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. The best way to enjoy fireworks is to leave them to the professionals! In some states, that is the law. So go check out those public fireworks displays run by professionals in a community near you. It is safer!

  • Only allow adults to handle fireworks, including sparklers. Did you know that sparklers can reach a temperature of up to 2,000 F? While they are certainly beautiful, sparklers are dangerous if not handled properly. For a safer alternative for children, pass around some glow sticks.
  • If a firework appears to be malfunctioning, leave it alone. Don’t try to handle it or relight it.
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.


Summer Safety Tips from Shriners Children's
View Transcript

Speaker 1: Three tips to keep you safe around fireworks this summer season. Tip one, use fireworks in outside spaces only. Tip two, supervision is key. An adult should always be present. Tip three, never use fireworks around people, houses, or flammable material and never hold them in your hand.

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