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How to Keep Your Kids Safe from Outdoor Fire Pit Burns

kids-fire-marshmallow-350Outdoor fire pits have become increasingly popular over the past few years.

In fact, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects, outdoor fire pits are one of the most requested designs today. An outdoor fire pit can be a wonderful asset to anyone's backyard or patio; however, if you have children, then this is something that can be also a worry.

It is possible to enjoy your fire pit while keeping your children safe at the same time.

How is this possible? It is simple. All you have to do is educate your children on the dangers of a fire pit, and let them know that they must be safe at all times.

It is extremely important to teach your children that an outdoor fire pit isn't something that should be played with. In fact, they can be very dangerous. If you are able to teach the kids about the dangers of an oven in your home, then you won't have any issues teaching them about the dangers of an outdoor fire pit.

Even though fire pits can be dangerous around children, they can also be a learning experience. According to the Early Childhood Council, fires can be a learning experience as well. Here are just a few examples:

  • Science concepts
  • Cooking
  • Looking after friends or younger children, such as siblings
  • Safety lessons and how to minimize risk
  • Working together

There are a few common fire pit accidents that involve children, but there are ways to prevent them:

  • Burns. Some fire pits use wood, and some fire pits use propane or natural gas. No matter what is used, these types of increasingly popular fire pits burn at a very hot temperature. To prevent a serious burn injury, teach your children to keep a safe distance and always remember to remind them that even though the fire is out, the pit will be very hot for a long time after it goes out.
  • Explosions. Be very careful when starting fire and what is used in order to get a fire going.

What are the risks involved when using fire pits?

For the most part, outside fire pits can add a beautiful and relaxing ambiance to an outside party; whether it is a large family gathering or small, intimate family get together. Some of the most common risks involved when using fire pits are:

  • Accidental fires
  • Burns
  • Accidental explosions

marshmallow-big-fire-300The fire pit accidents risks with children can be avoided if parents take the time educate their children on the many dangers of fire pits. In addition to education, here are a few other great safety tips as well:

  • Do not make a large, blazing fire
  • The fire should be at least ten (10) feet way from any structure
  • Do not ever start a fire with gasoline
  • Always have a fire extinguisher within reach
  • Keep a first aid kit nearby
  • Do not light a fire under windy conditions, and never light a fire if your area is under a fire burning ban
  • Under any circumstances should a child start the fire in the pit
  • Ensure that there are no chairs or other items near the fire pit that are flammable
  • Use a protective shield (these are codes for some cities, so be sure to check yours)

Additional safety tips when cleaning and maintaining

There are also many ways safety tips when it comes to cleaning and maintaining the family fire pit. Additional safety tips when cleaning and maintaining your fire pit includes:

  • Take the ashes, spread them over a larger surface area and let them cool down. Once it is cool, you can take a small container of water to pour over the ashes.
  • Even when you think the fire is out, it is important to always monitor it.
  • Be sure that you extinguish the embers completely, because you don't want another small fire to start, and you especially don't want that small fire turning into a very large and dangerous problem.

When it comes to fire pits, there are many safety features to look for. Not only that, but there are also supplemental items that can be purchased in order to ensure extra safety. Here are just a few tips to help you keep your children safe around an outdoor fire pit:

  • Research. First and foremost, it is extremely important to do your research about outdoor fire pits. Learn about the different options available. The more you know, the safer your children are going to be.
  • Read the information received from the manufacturer. Once you have made a decision on which outdoor fire pit you want to purchase, the first thing you should do once you have it at home is to read the manufacturer's safety guidelines. There are many reasons to do this first. Obviously you want to know how to install the fire pit, but you will also learn all of the information you need when it comes to the safety details. Safety should always come first; especially if you have children.
  • Location. Once you have purchased a fire pit and you have read all about the different safety issues, then you will want to place it somewhere safe. It is important not to put the fire pit in anyone's way. You might also want to think about putting it in a place that will be away from your home and storage building, or other things that could catch fire easily. Finally, make sure you are placing it in an area that can be watched at all times. The fire pit needs to be in an open and clear area where you can not only keep an eye on the fire pit itself, but you can also watch the children easier that way.
  • Pay attention. Always make sure that you or someone else is watching the fire at all times. Perhaps even adults can take turns keeping an eye on the area at all times. It really is better to be safe than sorry, especially when it has to do with small children being around fire.
  • Safety circle. One interesting article, which was posted on a fire department's website, had a wonderful suggestion of making a safety circle. This means you can "create a 'do not enter' zone for children by making a visible circle on the ground around the fire pit." Their professional opinion is that a diameter of 8 to 10 feet would be a perfect size. A great way to make these circles is by using carpenter's chalk or spray paint. Use your imagination, as there are many ways in which to make this an interesting circle of safety.
  • fire-pit-xy24201aa-300Laps and legs. The firefighter's article also suggests that small children sit in an adult's lap while cooking hot dogs or s'mores around the pit, while larger children can stand between an adult's legs.
  • Play. Under no circumstances should a small child be riding their bikes or playing with toys around the fire pit.
  • Screens. Some fire pits already come with screens while in some cases you will be able to purchase screens. These screens will cut down on the chances of fires because it will keep any speaks from flying out of the pit.
  • Water. Always make sure that you are keeping cool water on hand should there be the unfortunate reason that you might need to quickly put out some sparks.

As you can see, there are many ways in which to have a fun, relaxing, and beautiful fire pit while ensuring your child's safety as well.


Just because you have children doesn't mean you have to be left out when it comes to the fun of owning an outdoor fire pit. It is essential that you look for fire pits that are known for being safe.

As with anything, it is very important that you take the time to do your research and know what you are purchasing.

Even though fire pits can be a fun and relaxing addition to your backyard, please be aware that fire pits can be dangerous, so fire pit precautions must be made in advance. It's essential that you keep kids safe.

Between educating children about the dangers of fire pits, as well as fire pit safety, there is not any reason why a fire pit can't bring many wonderful memories surrounding happy family get togethers.

Sitting around a fire pit whether it be with a good book and a glass of wine, or a small group of family and friends, is one of the most relaxing ways to spend your evenings after a long day of work. If you plan ahead, research a great fire pit that has great safety options, and educate your children, then you won't have any issues with owning one.

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