Don't Get Burned On Your Holiday BBQ

Millions of Americans are going to fire up their grills for the Fourth of July holiday. Keeping in mind some simple safety tips can ensure that you don't get burned.

Dr. Roger Yurt, director of the Hearst Burn Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital / Weill-Cornell Medical Center, visited The Early Show to share some tips on preventing nasty burns.

Grills, Dr. Yurt says, can cause very serious burns. "People come in with 50 percent, 60 percent of their bodies burned. Any burn that's third degree is bad, no matter how big it is," he explains.

"It is not just a burn, it is the complications that can happen afterwards," Yurt adds. "It is a life-long type of thing, can be a problem for years."

Yurt says there is actually no such thing as a grilling accident. "We don't think of things in terms of accidents because there is always a reason for it. We always have to look back and try to avoid these things, because there are ways to avoid it."

One of Yurt's most important tips is to resist the temptation of firing up your charcoal by squirting lighter fluid into glowing embers. "That's almost a guaranteed way to get burned. I mean either it flashes up and you get a flash burn, or you actually catch your clothes on fire," he says. "Just don't do it."

For one, Yurt says the flame can actually follow the source itself, meaning that the bottle you are holding in your hands could flare up.

His advice? Use charcoal that is presoaked or pretreated with lighter fluid, so you are not tempted to grab the bottle of fuel.

Also, Yurt has some tips on disposing coals: either douse them with water or put them somewhere out of reach and safe, where they can cool down for a few hours. "Unfortunately what we've recently seen is that people bury the coals and then people come along, particularly children we see, walk on those coals and get very deep burns," he explains.

While many folks like to enjoy a drink with their barbecue, Dr. Yurt says to lay off the booze while you're at the grill. "You don't pay attention as much during those times, and either people end up touching things – we've actually had a couple of people actually fall into their barbecue because they tripped or something if they're having some drinks."