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J Burn Care Rehabil. 2004 Jan-Feb;25(1):124-7; discussion 119.

The circle of safety: a campfire burn prevention campaign expanding nationwide.

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Shriners Hospital for Children of Northern California, Sacramento, California, USA.


Camping is a popular family activity, especially during the spring and summer months. Campfires are a common activity among campers. They offer a source of recreation but also pose a risk for severe burns. The rising number of children with campfire burns seen at our institution triggered a quest for a campaign for the prevention of these injuries. A chart review was performed to study the characteristics and the circumstances of burn injuries of all children treated for campfire-related injuries over a 4-year period between 1997 and 2001. Thirty-two children sustained campfire-related burn injuries, with 88% being under the age of 7. The children had either fallen into the campfire or walked into simmering coals. All accidents would have been prevented if the children had kept a safe distance from the campfire. Normal growth charts were used to determine the average height of 7-year-old children as being 48 inches. A campaign was started to encourage families to keep a safe distance of 4 feet from their campfires by drawing a "circle of safety" with a stick on the ground 4 feet away from the fire.

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