One in ten Dutch people suffers burns during a holiday. The barbecue is often the cause. This is apparent from research by the Dutch Burns Foundation.
“These are high numbers,” says Annebeth de Vries, surgeon at the burn center at the Red Cross Hospital in Beverwijk. “We know that the change of routine increases the risk of accidents, but we did not expect this.”
The burn centers (Groningen, Beverwijk and Rotterdam) are busy every summer. Many of these accidents can be prevented, says De Vries. “In addition to the minor burns, we are expecting children again this summer with serious burns they suffered during the holiday.”
For adults, the barbecue is often the source of misery. De Vries: “Very annoying, because these patients are often scarred for life.”
The Dutch often ‘forget’ that the daily routine is different during a holiday. “That increases the risk of accidents,” says Kees Hoogewerf, prevention expert at the Burns Foundation. “Things are in a different place and the atmosphere is relaxed. Then it is easy to not pay attention, especially with young children. Think of tea on a rickety camping table, a kettle on the floor or spirits on the barbecue.”
The foundation is starting a national campaign to make people aware of the risks on holiday. Hoogewerf: ,,Are you going camping? Then pay extra attention to hot liquids and the connection of the gas tank. Never use methylated spirits to light a barbecue and make sure you have a good first aid kit with you.”
Parents are wise to keep a close eye on their young children. “Children’s skin is thinner and therefore they are more prone to burns than adults. At high temperatures, children’s skin can burn from a hot car seat, bicycle seat or metal slide. But standing water in the garden hose can also become dangerously hot.”
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