Saturday, August 10, 2013

St. Lawrence and Burn Safety Activity


Today's Collect: O God, giver of that ardor of love for you by which Saint Lawrence was outstandingly faithful in service and glorious in martyrdom, grant that we may love what he loved and put into practice what he taught. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

I am so inspired!  St. Lawrence's day is today and to celebrate, I have decided to designate August 10 of every year:

The Feast of St Lawrence and Poppe Fire Safety Day If I Happen to Remember to Check the Calendar!

(I have a lot going on and I try to be honest with myself) 

After reviewing some of my early entries I wrote on the Pray For Fulton Facebook group about Fulton's burns and care, I am reliving some of that horror and sorrow all of us mothers were going through on the critical burn unit floor.  Praise God Fulton has no memory of those first several weeks, but so much of the images and sounds of utter suffering will be with me forever. 

Now over the years I think I have done a fairly good job of teaching my children what is dangerous and what can cause burns.   But what I never once even mentioned to any of them was what to do if they actually got burned.  And this will be one of my regrets I will take to my grave.  Lord help me, by kindergarten I knew to Stop, Drop and Roll if I ever caught on fire.  But Fulton never knew.   It is not like I kept the secret from him.  It just never occurred to me that such a horrible thing could actually happen to people, unless it was on TV.  But that was drama.  And actors.  And if they didn't die in the story, they never looked too bad off in the following hospital scenes.  No.  Fire wounds were never on my parental radar.  Because who could imagine seeing one's own child in flames?

Burn safety, needless to say, is becoming my passion and I will dedicate this post to remind all of you to please be sure your children are well versed in burn safety!

I want everyone who reads this to try to recall the last time you spoke with your child about being safe around hot things.  The stove, bathtub, fireplace, burn barrel, electrical outlets, power lines, irons and candles are all possible safety hazards you should point out to your children.  Chemicals and flammable fuels are also high on the list of  dangerous items.  And, of course, matches. 

I created a little fire safety activity I want all of you families to play on every Feast of Saint Lawrence.  It is easy to play and full of action, so your children will love it!  Below is a page I created with several flames on it.  It is a JPEG file, so just paste it on a document and stretch it out to fit if you need to.  (I don't but your computer may be different)  Print it, cut the squares out and go around your house and tape one to everything that could cause a burn.  Stove knobs and oven doors, outlets and curling irons, hot water taps and candles.  Everything!  Print out multiple pages if you want to.  Go nuts with it - decorate your house! 

As you tape the flames by each item, talk to them about how the burns can happen (no forks in the outlets, please!), what to watch for (is that electrical cord frayed?) and how far away they should stay from dangerous items (if you blow towards the candle flame and it flickers, you are too close!)  Tell them that steam burns are especially painful and to always let an adult take care of steaming items on the stovetop. 

The special flame with Fulton's picture on it should be used on a box of matches and a can of gasoline (if you have it).  While Fulton was not playing with matches when he was burned, matches and gasoline are extremely dangerous especially when used together.  You have permission to gently tell them of his accident and how he now warns all the children he meets that gasoline is very dangerous.

Then tell them how to treat first and second degree burns and how to tell the difference.  Talk to them about third degree burns, too.  Although there may not be much a child can do about helping to treat a third degree burn, just knowing the information could save a life somewhere down the road.  Use a medical book or this site here for now: Burn Care   (When I get the game all together, I will include this information as well)  I have an issue with the administering pain medication to anyone who is badly burned, but that is something I learned in the hospital and will be covered when the game is complete.  So you may tell them that for first and small second degree burns, this treatment is OK.  But for burns that require medical attention, this is not always a good idea.

Finally, show your children where the first aid kit is and make sure you have sterile gauze pads and a bag of clean washcloths stored with your first aid kit. You can also purchase a few packages of sterile lap rags which will come in handy for both burns and any wound that is bleeding a lot.  Tell them that when someone has a first or second degree burn, cool water will be the first thing they will want to apply to the wound.  Second degree burns should be covered with a moist sterile bandage until an adult can look at it and decide if a physician must be seen.

Then teach your children how to Stop, Drop and Roll.  It is very simple and fun to practice, too!  (Remind them to cover their face if they can, as this is what happened to have saved Fulton's eyes.) 

Once they get the basic idea, each child and parent will take a turn getting 'burned' by something you marked in the house.  Have the child holler in pain and everyone else will come running.  Ask your other children how the 'injured' child probably got burned.  Now you take a look at the injury and assess it out loud.  "Oh no!  Michael burned his finger from the outlet here.  The tip of his finger is red and has blisters on it.  What degree of burn is it?"  Have them answer.  "And how do we treat it?"  Send a child to the first aid kit and actually treat the pretend wound.  After it is treated, ask, "what should we do now?"  Call a doctor, watch it and see how it does, etc.  And finally, "What should we do if we see someone playing with an electrical outlet?" or whatever object that caused the pretend burn.

Put your supplies away and start again.  Let each child get 'burned' at least once, and let each child take care of an injured person as well, so that they all know how to quickly get the first aid kit.  Hopefully a parent will be home when a real burn or other injury happens, so having children who all know where the first aid kits are kept and how to get the washcloths wet for you will be very helpful in a true emergency.

Obviously if your child gets frightened easily, this level of teaching might be overwhelming.  Tweak it where appropriate. 

I am sorry this game is not in its final format for today's feast, but I will post it in its final form when it is complete, and on every Feast of St. Lawrence.  And St. Florian, too!  Please leave a comment below and let me know how it went in your home and if you have any suggestions on how to make it better.  And please, please, please spread the word about this game!  Like I said, if I had read a blog post about fire safety just the day before the accident, I would have been reminded to teach my son Stop, Drop and Roll.  "If onlys" and "I should haves" will haunt me forever.

One last request:  if you could, please end your game with a prayer to St. Lawrence for all burn victims.  There is a certain mother in Oklahoma who will sleep a little better tonight knowing so many pure souls are praying for her son!

Stay safe and God bless!

This post is linked up to the Catholic Monthly Bloggers Network monthly linkup blitz
 and the Equipping Catholic Families Saints Cele-linky


  1. Thank you, Cassandra! My husband is a burn victim, too…he's healed, but the scars do remain…in more ways than one.

    Through the intercession of Saint Lawrence, Almighty Father, bless and heal all burn victims and their loved ones. This I ask, as I do all things, though our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who with You and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

  2. Cassandra, Fulton remains in my prayers daily and always in my mass intentions.

    May St Lawaence be Fulton and all burn victims greatest advocate before the throne of God.
    Also St John the Apostle can be a great intercessors for burn victims. St. John is said to have raised from the dead two hundred pagans who were killed in a fire.

  3. Burn injuries seem very painful. My mother is a nurse in the burn unit at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She says if urns are not treated with proper care they can become even more serious. Duoderm products such as dressing, or ointment can go a long way in helping to treat a burn. Thanks for posting.

    1. Thank you, Nick, for the Duoderm suggestion! I am still in the information gathering stage for treating first and minor second degree burns at home so any input here is welcome. Unfortunately my personal experience with burns was limited to Fulton's accident, which the medics took complete control of very soon after it happened.

  4. Dear Cassandra,
    My husband and I were very moved by your story, and we will definitely be using your burn safety activity. You may already know this, but I've heard that collodial silver can be used to help burns heal. I've also heard that Manuka Honey can be used to help heal burns as well. At some point, we will be sending you a care package. God bless.

  5. Still praying for your family and dear Fulton! Please keep us updated!

  6. We just used these plans for our first day of school this year. Thank you!

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