News 12 This Morning / Monday, July 4, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Many of you will be gathered around backyard grills to celebrate Fourth of July festivities, but an outdoor cookout can be dangerous if you're not careful.
The National Fire Protection Agency estimates more than 7,000 home fires start from gas and charcoal grills every year. Along with the threat of fires, there is also the risk of severe burn injuries.
The day after Logan Miller's first birthday he had a scary accident during a family cookout.
"I heard him scream," his mother Kim Miller explained. "I looked over there, and it looked like he had fallen down."
It wasn't just a fall. Logan who just learned how to walk is barely tall enough to reach the hole on the side of the Miller's grill decided to reach into the grill. It all happened in a matter of seconds when Kim stepped away to get more food.
"I was beyond the point of scared to the point of numb," she said.
Dr. Fred Mullins, the medical director of the Jason M. Still Burn Center, said at 155 degrees it takes less than two seconds to create a deep burn.
A grill we tested was just getting started at more than 700 degrees.
"So you can imagine three, four, 500-degree grills that kids touch," Mullins said.
Doctors at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center say it's not just little children like Logan -- adults are prone to accidents around the grill, too.
"The gas is still going, they stick a match down there. By the time they do that, the gas is all around them," Mullins said. "It often catches your clothes on fire."
To be safe, make sure your grill is at least 10 feet away from other objects, check your gas connections for any leaks and stay near the grill at all times.
While you are grilling, don't pour lighter fluid directly onto the coals and avoid spilling any on your clothes. Keep the container a safe distance away from the grill and make sure you dispose of the coals properly. Shut off the propane tank valve when you're done.
Heeding these safety tips is important because one misstep could produce fatal results.
"I've seen people die from these type of injuries," Mullins said.
Logan is lucky. His scars should heal soon but his mother has a warning for other parents who want to prevent these accidents.
"Keep them inside until you are done or put them in a play pen," she said. "You can't be at two places at one time."
All it takes is a simple trip or placing your hand in the wrong place.
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