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Preventing Injuries to Children: Are Gas Fireplaces a Burn Hazard?

With cold weather continuing to affect many parts of the US, people have been using their gas fireplaces to keep everyone indoors warm. Yet are the doors of some of these gas fireplaces poorly designed so that they pose a burn danger to kids?
According to the Children’s Hospital Burn Center, in the last five years, the number of hand burns caused by fireplace glass doors has gone up by 50% with an average of 2-3 burn victims coming in each week for treatment. One reason for this is that there are a lot of gas fireplace doors that lack protective screens.
It takes just six minutes for a fireplace door’s temperature to hit 200 degrees. The glass door may keep kids away from the fire, but they may still subject to second- and third- degree burns from coming into physical contact with the heat emanating from an extremely hot door.
Over the holiday season, one young boy sustained white blisters on his hands when he placed them on the glass doors of a fireplace. Following the Colorado burn accident, the boy was rushed to the hospital for treatment. Luckily, his injuries did not require skin grafting.
Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can be very painful and traumatic. Second-degree burns can affect both the dermis and the epidermis. Symptoms of a second-degree burn include swelling, redness, peeling skin, blisters, pain, charred skin, peeling skin, and shock. Immediate treatment is imperative, or a second-degree burn can become a third-degree burn. Third-degree burns affect both the external and internal skin layers. They can lead to scar injuries.
Manufacturers must make sure that any products they design are not dangerous for use and if there is an inherent hazard, then they must providing a warning label cautioning against how to prevent injury or death. Otherwise, the victim and his/her family can file a products liability lawsuit suing for personal injury damages. Young children are especially prone to injuries caused by hazardous or dangerous products.
If your child sustained a burn injury from coming into contact with a fireplace glass door, we invite you to contact our products liability law firm and ask to speak with one of our child injury lawyersimmediately.
If you are using a gas fireplace with a glass door, the Children’s Hospital recommends that you:

  • Place a screen or gate around the fireplace to block kids from touching the door.
  • Watch your kids when they are near the fireplace.
  • Remember that it takes a gas fireplace about 45 minutes to cool down completely after it has been shut off.

Cozy gas fireplace? Don’t let it be a burn hazard, Denver Post, February 13, 2010
Gas Fireplace Glass Door Burn Prevention, Children’sHospital.org
Related Web Resources:
Burns, Medline Plus
Burns, KidsHealth.org

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