First-aid expert reveals how to stay safe this pancake day

From not flipping your pancakes as much to using wooden-handled pans: First aid expert reveals how to stay safe this Shrove Tuesday

  • Many are overly enthusiastic when flipping pancakes or hold hot pan handles
  • Slipping on spilt fat caused by tossing pancakes is also a cause of accidents 
  • Can lead to oil spills that are slippery, which can result in broken bones 

Pancake Day can lead to burns and even has the potential to cause broken bones, according to a first aid expert.

Emma Hammett, founder of First Aid For Life, claimed the majority of injuries result from burns sustained when cooking.

Here, in a piece for MailOnline, she reveals how you can stay safe in the kitchen from burns and slips on Shrove Tuesday.

More than 250 people across the UK go to hospital with burns on pancake day (stock)

Why are burns more common on pancake day? 

The majority of injuries result from burns; sustained when cooking, flipping and eating the sizzling delicacies. 

From cooking with metal handled pans that get too hot over the flame, to getting too close to the flame and setting their clothes on fire. 

People are often overly optimistic in their ability to flip the pancakes, resulting in the pancake landing on their hands or arms. 

They then eagerly eat them when they are too hot, experiencing painful burns to the mouth and throat.

How do you treat a burn? 

If someone is burned, the burn should be cooled under cool running water for at least ten minutes (ideally 20). 

For burns to the mouth and throat, sip regular cool water, and contact the emergency services immediately if the burns are severe and the casualty experiences any difficulty breathing due to swelling. 

All burns should be assessed by a health professional.

If clothing is on fire they should Stop, Drop, Wrap and Roll – stay still to avoid fanning any flames, drop to the floor, wrap the area in something non-flammable and roll to smother the flames.

What other risks does pancake day have? 

Slipping on spilt fat is also a major cause of accidents. When tossing a pancake, it is inevitable that there will be some fat spillage, and this is both invisible and lethally slippery.

If you do slip and experience a sprain or strain, rest it, apply a wrapped ice pack, comfortable support and elevate the injured area to reduce swelling. 

If you are concerned you may have broken a bone, you will need an X-ray. 

In addition, people should be aware of potential allergies when inviting guests to enjoy the pancakes. 

Check if any have any serious food allergies and warn them if there is any possibility of contamination within your kitchen. 

Some very common allergies revolve around eggs, milk and wheat. 

Minimise any risk to your guests and ensure they come armed with their adrenaline autoinjectors, just in case. 

If someone does experience a life-threatening allergic reaction, use their adrenaline auto-injector immediately and phone for an ambulance.

How to stay safe in the kitchen 

The number of accidents occurring on this one evening is such an issue the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents even issued safety advice concerning the eating and tossing pancakes.

Their recommendations are good sound advice, suggesting that people:

  • Use oven gloves and wooden-handled pans when cooking their pancakes
  • Urge everyone to be vigilant about wiping up all oily spillages immediately to avoid slipping

This article was originally published on First Aid for Life and reproduced with its permission.  


Burns are damage to the skin caused by dry heat, such as an iron or a fire.

This is different to scalds, which occur due to wet heat like hot water or steam.

Burns can be very painful and may cause:

  • Red or peeling skin
  • Blisters
  • Swelling
  • White or charred skin

But the amount of pain a person feels is not always related to how serious the burn is.

Even a very serious burn can be painless.

To treat a burn:

  • Remove the heat source
  • Cool with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes. Do not use ice
  • Remove any nearby clothing or jewellery unless it is stuck to the skin
  • Keep the person warm with a blanket
  • Cover the burn with clingfilm
  • Use painkillers like paracetamol if necessary
  • If the face or eyes are burnt, keep sitting up to reduce swelling

Burns that require immediate A&E treatment are:

  • Chemical or electrical
  • Large or deep – bigger than the injured person’s hand
  • Those that cause white or charred skin
  • Those on the face, hands, limbs, feet or genitals that blister

Pregnant women, children under five, the elderly, those with a weak immune system and people suffering from a medical condition, like diabetes, should also go to hospital.

Treatment depends on what layers of the skin are affected. 

In severe cases, a skin graft may be required.

Source: NHS Choices