Englewood, CO: Keep your Thanksgiving safe by adding a dash of caution to your favorite recipes.
Dr. Benson Pulikkottil, medical director of Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, CO, wants to remind all the turkey chefs and casserole connoisseurs out there that kitchens can be a dangerous place, especially for young ones.
“With family and friends coming over for the holidays, there are sure to be kids running around. Avoid accidental bumps or wandering hands and keep the kids safe by establishing a three-foot kid-free zone in the kitchen and around fryers. Create a visual reminder that they cannot enter that three-foot space by placing painters’ tape on the floor,” said Dr. Pulikkottil.
When it comes to burn injuries, the kitchen is the most hazardous place in the home or at work, and Thanksgiving festivities only add to the risk of tragedy. The National Fire Protection Association warns that Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking related fires with frying as the main incendiary agent. No matter where the cooking is taking place, indoors or outdoors, always cook with caution as statistics show that adults are likely to be afflicted by burns from fire, cooking oil, or hot objects, while children are more prone to suffer scalds.
For those tasked with preparing a hot meal this holiday, take the following preventative actions to ensure everyone remains safe:
• Stay alert and avoid cooking while under the influence of medications or alcohol.
• Use timers to track cooking times and never leave cooking food unattended.
• Keep items like potholders and food containers away from stove eyes and other hot surfaces.
• Cook on back burners and make sure all pot handles are turned toward the inside of the stove.
• If you do have a grease fire, use a pot or pan lid to smother or cover it. Do not use water to try to put it out.
• Never, ever try to carry or walk with a burning pot or pan.
Cooking a turkey is an American Thanksgiving tradition and, while it is best to leave deep-frying to the professionals, there are ways to reduce the risks brought on by a homemade fried turkey dinner.
Before pouring the oil, place the turkey in the empty pot. Slowly, fill the pot with water until the water level reaches just 2 inches above the turkey. Take the turkey out and dry it thoroughly before measuring the water in the pot. Once that measurement is recorded, pour out the water, dry the pot, and pour in that amount of oil. Always, turn off the flame before adding the turkey to the hot oil. It can be reignited once the turkey is safely in the grease.
“Pay close attention to the fryer and your surroundings when frying a turkey this holiday,” said Dr. Pulikkottil. “With hot oil and an open flame, any sort of splatter or spill can cause disaster to strike.”
To the turkey frying enthusiasts, please take into consideration the following precautions to help make the process safer:
• Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials. Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
• Make sure the deep fryer has a thermostat to regulate the temperature of the oil, otherwise the oil will continue to increase in temperature.
• Use only peanut or canola oils in the fryer.
• Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly.
• Turkeys should be less than 12 lbs., and 8-10 lbs. turkeys are often the most appropriate size.
• Check the turkey to make sure it is not partially frozen and does not have any excess water on it. The water can cause hot oil to splatter.
• Slowly lower the turkey into the pot to avoid spillage.
• Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles.
• Make sure a fire extinguisher that can put out a grease fire is nearby just in case an accident occurs.
• Remember that it may take several hours for the oil in a deep fryer to cool.
• Always call 911 in the event of a fire.
About Swedish Medical Center
Swedish Medical Center is located in the south metro Denver area where it has been a proud member of the community for more than 110 years. An acute care hospital with 408 licensed beds, annually Swedish cares for more than 200,000 patients with a team of approximately 2,000 dedicated employees, 300 volunteers and 1,400 physicians.
With stroke door to treatment times averaging just 20 minutes, Swedish serves as the Rocky Mountain Region’s referral center for the most advanced stroke treatment, and was the state’s first Joint Commission certified Comprehensive Stroke Center. Swedish also serves as the region’s neurotrauma and orthopedic trauma provider and is a level I trauma facility with a dedicated burn and reconstructive center. Over 150 facilities regularly transfer highly complex cases to Swedish.
Swedish Medical Center is proud to be a part of the HCA Healthcare’s Continental Division, which includes HealthONE, named the #1 large hospital system in the United States by IBM Watson Health as part of the 15 Top Health Systems recognition process. And, as the #7 corporate philanthropist in the Denver-metro area, and the only hospital system in the top 10, HealthONE contributed more than $1.6 million in 2019 and supports over 150 organizations through cash and in-kind donations. Additional information is available at www.SwedishHospital.com.
About Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America
Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America is the largest network of burn care in the United States with 16 locations in 9 states. Each year, our centers treat more than 20 percent of the nation’s burn patients. For more information, visit our website at www.burncenters.com or visit our social media accounts on Facebook or LinkedIn.