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Safety matters at BBQ

Keri at Safety first has given us a blog she has written regarding safety and BBQ. Nannies must remember it is imperative children are able to enjoy many activities in their life. It is what shapes their development and allows them to draw on experiences for important areas within Social, intellectual, physical, communication, and emotional skills. However we must ensure children are safe within this setting. So as a nanny you need to be aware of simple and common sense risks and assess this so the children are kept safe within a busy and fun time. As part of the common core skills this is an area we train in.

Keri Hartwright:

What a glorious weekend we just had for a BBQ. What is better than spending an afternoon with friends or family eating delicious (sometimes charcoaled) food and enjoying a nice cool drink of your choice. BBQs are such a lovely way to enjoy a summer's afternoon, but of course here at Safety First we want you all to be able to enjoy the day safely.

So what can go wrong? the beer is flowing, the chef is cooking and the kids are running around in the garden, everything is idyllic. One of the biggest risks at a BBQ is burns. Children love to explore the world through their hands and fires can be mesmerising. They are so pretty to look at. It takes two seconds for those little paws to reach out and grab the grill.

Some other things to consider when hosting a BBQ are things like allergies. Food allergies are becoming more common in their occurrence, so this is worth checking with your guests beforehand. For more information on managing allergies check out my other blog post.

Another important thing is to make sure all food is properly cooked, especially meat like chicken. A charred appearance does not necessarily = cooked food. Things like chicken can be started off in the oven to ensure the middle is cooked. We would not want guests to be ill after such a lovely day.

The main topic of this post is burns and their management.


According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust Website, 95% of burns happen in the family home so there isn't much that can be said for that except that we need to be really watchful at all times. Make sure hot drinks are kept out of hand's reach - a cup of tea can burn up to 15 minutes after it is made, keep BBQs attended at all times when they are hot and unplug appliances like hair straighteners when not in use.

Burns are categorised by their severity and we now talk about:

  • Superficial burns - these affect the top layer of skin and are characterised by redness and discomfort,

  • Partial thickness burns are really painful and appear red and blistered

  • Full thickness burns are waxy and singed in appearance or the skin may look charred. They are the most severe of all burns

The main risks associated with burns are infection and shock if the burns cover a big enough surface area.

We measure burns in percentages. The palm of a person's hand will measure 1% of their body surface area.

Anything more than 1% in a child needs to be checked out in hospital.

The areas which are worst for getting burnt are your hands, feet, face and groin. In the instance of an interested toddler at a BBQ, it is most likely to be the hands which are affected.


1) Cool the burn down under running water, this should be colder than the substance which caused the burn but does not need to be really cold. The burn should be held under running water for at least 10 minutes but a lot of hospitals are recommending 20 minutes

2) Remove any clothing or jewellery around the area but not if it is stuck to the burnt area

3) Cover with clingfilm if possible or otherwise something that is not going to stick to the burn and cause further damage to the skin

It is really important that you don't burst blisters, the hospital may well burst them but it is not advised that you do this yourself.

If you want to know more about first aid why not book onto one of my courses

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