Burn prevention: Campfires, fire pits and fireworks

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead

This page gives advice on how to prevent your child from getting a burn from campfires, fire pits and fireworks.

Key points

  • Do not let your child come close to a campfire, fire pit or fireworks.
  • Coals can stay hot for up to 48 hours after a fire and cause serious burns.
  • Do not bury hot coals.
  • Children should stay at least 2 to 3 metres away from the heat source.
  • Do not let your child play with sparklers or light fireworks on fire.

Most burn injuries are preventable.

Campfires, fire pits and fireworks are common activities during summer. They can be fun, but they can also be unsafe. Every year, campfires, fire pits and fireworks cause very serious burns that can lead to permanent scars.

Here are tips on how to prevent burns when around campfires, fire pits or fireworks.

Campfires and fire pits

Keep your child at a safe distance from campfires and fire pits. Draw a "safety circle" around the fire that they must not cross. This circle should be at least 2 to 3 metres from the edge of the fire.

Do not let your child play around the campfire or fire pit. Most burns happen when children fall or walk into the fire by accident.


Do not bury campfires with sand. This makes it impossible for people to know where the hot coals are.

Put campfires out with water instead of sand. Pour water until all the hissing sounds stop. Covering a fire lets it retain its heat. Children can be burned from the hot ashes and coals of last night's fire. An adult should be able to put their hand directly over the ashes without feeling heat to know the fire is out.

Fire pits

If a fire pit has a screen, use it whenever you are burning. It is especially useful to use a metal screen over wood-burning fires to keep sparks from popping out.

When you are done using your fire pit for the evening, douse it or shut it off properly. Most manufactured fire pits have specific instructions for putting out a fire. It is important to read the instructions before using your fire pit.


Leave fireworks to the professionals. This is the safest way to enjoy fireworks and avoid burns. Sit back and watch instead.

Children under five years old should not be allowed to use sparklers. Preschool-aged children do not have the coordination to handle fireworks safely. Do not leave your child alone with sparklers, as they may burn themselves or their clothes may catch fire.

Only adults should light fireworks. Do not let your child set off fireworks. Children and any other viewers should be at least 20 metres (about 50 feet) away when fireworks are lit.

Last updated: October 20th 2021