Grilling, but safe: avoid these risks

Grilling is a great passion for many people, but it is also not entirely safe. Thousands of barbecue accidents show that every year. For example with alcohol or charcoal residues that have not cooled down completely

Barbecue - I can do that. Many people say to themselves, they have been on the grill for years and prepare mountains of meat every summer. Nevertheless, according to estimates by the German Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (DGPRÄC), there are around 5,000 barbecue accidents every year.

The possible consequences of severe burns are serious, permanent impairments are possible. And the little ones in particular are often the ones to suffer - curious children approaching the flame.

With them, after barbecuing accidents with alcohol, more than 50 percent of the body surface is often burned, reports Adelheid Gottwald, deputy chairwoman of the “Paulinchen” initiative for burn-injured children from Norderstedt. What's wrong?

Severe burns from grill lighters

The grill just doesn't want to get hot? Who doesn't quickly grab a liquid grill lighter and help out? "The most common injuries that we experience after barbecuing accidents are caused by improper starting of the grill," says Prof. Henrik Menke, DGPRÄC Vice President and Head of the Combustion Unit.

Accelerators such as spirit, alcohol or even gasoline increase the heat in the grill extremely and can become uncontrollable for the person grilling. Even explosive deflagrations are possible, according to the physician Menke. The face and uncovered areas of skin on the body in particular can quickly be damaged here. The alternative? Prof. Menke advises using certified grill lighters. For example, these carry the "DIN-Geprüft" mark.

Plastic sticks to the skin

One of the usual safety tips is: Flapping clothes, but especially synthetic fibers, should not be worn around the grill. But is it really that bad if it catches fire? Yes, because synthetic clothing melts in the heat of the grill, explains surgeon Prof. Menke.

And due to the close contact that the material has with the skin, the extreme heat is transported into the deeper layers of the skin, where it causes great damage."You shouldn't just tear off the material when it is stuck to the skin, you have to carefully peel it off so that you don't tear off parts of the skin," says Menke.

Children grope on supposedly cooled coal

Parents know this - and yet it happens again and again. The curious children go to the grill when it is empty. “Everyone is happy, eat and drink together. Nobody pays any more attention to what happens to the red-hot coal. Especially here you have to look at the children, ”explains Prof Menke.

But the grill alone is not the problem: embers, for example if they are buried in the sand, on the river bank or in the park, or simply disposed of in a corner of the garden, can stay hot for days. "We have really serious injuries to the feet or hands of children who then step in barefoot a day or two later," reports Gottwald from the "Paulinchen" initiative for children with burns.

Injuries often require years of treatment

A careless moment and carelessness while grilling can therefore have lifelong consequences for adults and children. In the case of severe burns, months of inpatient treatment and ongoing rehabilitation measures often follow, say both experts.

"Often permanent scarring occurs that accompanies the patient throughout his life," adds Menke, a physician. Especially in the face, neck and hands, these are often recognizable at first glance and are therefore extremely stressful for those affected. In addition, the movement of structurally damaged tissue can remain restricted.

In addition to the stress of many operations and the constant wearing of compression bandages so that the scars do not proliferate, the pain of the relatives weighs heavily in injured children - "also because the cause of the accident is often in the family or among friends," says Gottwald. "Such an accident is incredibly traumatic - for the child, the family and everyone who witnesses it."

What to do in an emergency

In the event of a barbecue accident, it has to be quick. For severe burn injuries, the following applies: “Call the emergency doctor immediately. That can be life-threatening, ”emphasizes the expert Gottwald.

According to the German Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (DGPRÄC), it is actually ideal to always have a fire blanket, a bucket of sand or a fire extinguisher ready.

Of course, this is not necessarily realistic for spontaneous barbecues outside of your own garden, but says DGPRÄC Vice President Menke. “You have to consider: what is available? It can also be a jacket that I use to smother the fire. "

If a person has to be deleted, one absolutely has to be careful not to cover his whole face with a blanket, jacket or the like and not to take his breath away, adds the doctor. Fresh burn injuries should be cooled with water and covered under sterile conditions - with a clean cloth or cling film. It is important to put the cover on carefully.

So that quick help is not necessary in the first place, caution is of course most important, says Prof. Menke - "that one deals with the possible scenarios and dangers in advance and takes precautions". It is best for several adults to take care of this before you have a barbecue. Then nothing stands in the way of unadulterated feasting.

First aid skin