Livingston, N.J. - Summer is here and families across the state are spending their days outside enjoying the warm weather and the fun activities it brings.
According to Michael J. Marano, MD, Medical Director of The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, the only certified burn treatment facility for the state of New Jersey, “While the summer is a wonderful time for fun, it is vitally important to keep burn safety and prevention in mind.”
During the summer months, The Burn Center sees its share of children and adults with burns caused by sun exposure, fireworks, gasoline and camp fires. “Children and adults need to be reminded that a burn accident may only take a moment, but it can affect the lives of its victims and their families for a lifetime,” adds Dr. Marano.
In the event of a burn, it is important to immediately take the following steps:
- Cool all burns with tepid to cool water. Continue flushing the area for up to 10 minutes. Do not apply ice, ointments, butter or other “home remedies.” Remove all clothing or garments to reduce the contact time with the hot items.
- Cover affected areas with a clean dry cloth, towel or blanket to protect the burn and minimize pain.
- Seek immediate medical attention, especially in burns involving children and older adults and in cases where skin is sloughing.
“Treating a significant burn on your own can lead to serious complications. Your skin is the first line of defense against infection. Burns should be examined and treated by a physician, especially when it affects those that are very young or very advanced in age,” he explains.
As part of its ongoing commitment to educating the public offers the following safety tips to keep New Jersey residents safe this summer:
- Adults should start the grill or campfire and be responsible for all cooking. Children should not use a cooking site as a play area and close supervision is strongly encouraged.
- Store highly flammable propane gas for the grill in a cool, well-ventilated area.
- Use long oven mitts and long-handled utensils to keep hands at a safe distance from the heat and fire.
- Do not empty the grill until coals are cold. Keep a bucket of water nearby.
- Do not use tablecloths. Children can pull on them and be scalded by hot beverages on the table.
Family Camping Tips
- Place campfires in a cleared area away from the tent.
- Do not wear loose-fitting clothes when starting a fire.
- Never leave a campfire unattended. Always keep water and remember to extinguish every spark. Douse thoroughly, stir ashes and douse again.
Sunburn Prevention Tips
- Keep out of direct sunlight, especially between 10:00 am and 4:00pm when the sun is the strongest.
- Sunscreen should not be used on babies under six months of age. Instead keep them out of direct sun and dress them in pants and long-sleeved shirts made of a closely-woven material.
- Sun exposure in young children should be extremely curtailed as their skin is not fully developed and highly susceptible to burning. When outdoors, children older than six months should have sunscreen applied liberally and frequently and be shaded from the harmful sun rays.
- Apply sun block to the skin and re-apply every few hours, especially after swimming. Follow labeling instructions.
- Sun rays will penetrate clothing, so remember to apply sun block under your clothing.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your eyes from the sun and to prevent a sunburned scalp. Sunglasses are also recommended, especially for young children.
- Drink plenty of liquids, preferably water, to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion.
- Cover car seats with a cloth or towel to prevent burns from overheated materials.
Lightning Storm Safety
- Follow the National Lightning Safety Institute slogan; “If you can see it, flee it. If you can hear it, clear it.”
- Seek shelter immediately. Choose an enclosed space and stay inside. Avoid using electrical appliances or cell phones.
- If you are trapped outside, crouch low with your feet together, your head tucked and your ears covered.
- Do not huddle closely together. Space yourself at least 15 feet from one another if in a group avoiding tall objects or trees.
- Discard all metal objects such as golf clubs, baseball bats or fishing poles. If possible place an insulating object below your feet. A sleeping bag, jacket, coiled rope are good examples.