BBQ safety for kids: Lessons learned from the death of a toddler

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What was supposed to be a joyful gathering of family ended in tragedy...

It was supposed to be a happy family gathering, but it ended in tragedy. Noor Atikah Ishak was simply trying to prepare lunch for everyone. But as she lit the barbeque pit, it burst into flames and spewed a huge fireball. Though the mum managed to dodge it, sadly her two-year old daughter did not.

To her horror, the mum found her two-year-old, Noor Atifah Abi Suffian, engulfed in flames. She frantically picked her daughter up with the help of her brother and ran to a nearby ditch to help put out the flames.

This tragedy highlights the importance of BBQ safety for kids

bbq safety for kids

BBQ safety for kids is important. Her mum had no idea her toddler was standing nearby when she dodged the huge flame | Image source: Pixabay

According to the New Straits Times, the family managed to rush the child to the Sungal Buloh Hospital, where doctors found that 95% of the toddler’s body had been severely burned.

Both the toddler’s mum and uncle suffered burns on their hands and legs from trying to save her, but it was too late.

Three days after the accident, the two-year-old died. 

BBQ Safety for kids: What this terrible accident shows us about fire hazards in the home

Barbecuing outdoors can be a fun activity that brings the family together, but as this tragedy shows, it can be dangerous.

If you plan on using a barbecue pit, make sure to check the following:

  • Check that the barbecue grill or pit is placed away from your house, garage, low-hanging plants or trees. 
  • Make sure to put out fires completely before going indoors.
  • Remember that even the tiniest flame can be fascinating for kids and pets.
  • Create a barbecue-only zone and educate children about the dangers of BBQ pit fires. Keep them away from the grill even when it is no longer aflame.
  • If you’re using a charcoal grill, make use of a metal charcoal lighter.
  • As for gas grills, make sure to check the apparatus regularly. Clear any obstructions that might cause gas to flow where it should not. 

According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force, an estimated 60% of fires in the home begins in the kitchen. 

bbq safety for kids

Fires don’t just begin in the kitchen. Many objects in the home can be fire hazards. Be vigilant, mums and dads! | Image source: file photo

But as this sad incident proves, freak accidents can happen anywhere. To protect your home from fire, check the following regularly:

  • Install properly functioning smoke detectors in the kitchen, living room, bedroom, etc. 
  • Inspect the tubes of LPG cooking gas for wear and tear. (Remember: you should not store more than one LPG cylinder at home.)
  • When it comes to purchasing furniture, choose fire-resistant plywood.
  • If you smoke, don’t do so indoors, or when you are about to go to bed. 
  • If you plan to light candles, keep them away from curtains, carpets, or bed sheets.
  • Don’t leave candles lit while sleeping. 
  • Don’t overuse electric outlet sockets and extensions.
  • Keep electric appliances switched off when they are not in use.
  • Unplug your iron! 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher within reach. Teach each family member how to use it.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • A fire blanket might also come in handy in case of large flames in the kitchen. 

Sources: New Straits Times, Singapore Civil Defence Force, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

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