Background According to World Health Organization (WHO), fire-related burns are the 11th leading cause of death among children between the ages of 1–9 years. A vast majority of these occur in low and middle-income countries and one of the major causes of these burns is the ground level cooking because of which there is easy access to fire, hot utensils and pots with boiling liquids. As per the study conducted by Safe Kids Foundation in 2015, 57% of fire and burn injuries were among children living in slums and the leading cause of these injuries is undefined kitchen spaces.
Methods Safe Kids foundation (SKF) under its Honeywell supported Safe Kids at Home program initiated a study on ground level cooking in Pune and reached out to 2209 households.
Objective Evaluate the number of ground level cooking among low socio-economic families especially those living in slums, and to eliminate/discourage ground level cooking through focused awareness campaigns.
Results Nearly 26% cooked at the ground level. 25% of the household did not have a kitchen platform. 16.5% cannot afford to construct a kitchen platform and 9% do not have a place to construct the kitchen platform. 24% use kerosene stove and 35% use chullah (unprotected open fires) to warm water for bathing and making rotis (Indian bread). 36% families have children below 5 years of age.
Conclusions The injuries caused due to fire and burns can be severe in nature, leaving the entire family in debilitating condition accompanied by intense pain and trauma. The study identifies that socioeconomic factors lead to unsafe behaviours. Eliminating the ground level cooking by constructing kitchen platforms and change of behaviour on the part of parents will pave the way for a safe environment for children living in the slums.