Newsroom > DHHS News Release


June 26, 2008

Marla Augustine, DHHS, Communications and Legislative Services, (402-471-4047),

Note: Sound bites from Dan Cillessen, Administrator of DHHS Health Promotion, are available at:


Outdoor Injury Prevention Starts in Your Own Back Yard

Lincoln – Summer is the season for families to relax and enjoy traditional pastimes such as barbecues, pool parties and backyard gatherings. However, an increase in activity and guests can also mean an increase in summer accidents.

"Children are attracted to fire, and summer brings an increase in burn injuries from outdoor grills," said Dan Cillessen, Administrator of the Health Promotion Section at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. "Barbecue grills are hazardous because they are low to the ground and within children’s reach."

Nebraska Safe Kids, dedicated to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury, recommends these precautions for activities in the back yard:

  • Designate the grilling area as a "Kid Free Zone" for the duration of the barbecue.
  • Keep grills at least 3 feet away from other objects, including the house and any shrubs or bushes.
  • Use only starter fluid made for barbecue grills when starting a fire in a charcoal grill; do not add liquid fuel to re-ignite a dwindling fire.
  • Before using a gas grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line.
  • Check for gas leaks, following the manufacturer's instructions, when you reconnect the grill to the propane tank or if you smell gas. NEVER use a match to check for leaks. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don't attempt to light the grill again until the leak is fixed.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area until it is completely cool.

Nebraska Safe Kids offers detailed guidelines about summer safety tips at or