While sealed gas fireplaces may provide protection from the open flame of traditional fireplaces, many parents are unaware of the dangers related to burn injuries which can stem from perilously hot glass.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued warnings to parents with small children to be mindful of their use of gas fireplaces in the home. Gas fireplace glass doors can reach excessive temperatures of 1,300ºF, leading to the potential for serious burn injuries which can occur in less than one second. For this reason, it is vital for adults to closely supervise toddlers and young children with proximity to fireplaces, and always use safety gates. Because the glass doors can remain hot for more than one hour after use, it is also wise to install a screen barrier, and ensure that fireplace “on” switches and remote controls are placed well out of children’s reach.
How Do Gas Fireplaces Cause Burn Injuries?
Pediatric burn studies reveal that more than 2,000 children 5 years old and under have experienced burn injuries caused by glass-front gas fireplaces over a period of 10 years. Commonly, these are second and third degree burn injuries, the more severe types of burns. Simply touching the glass fireplace, which is dangerously hot, can cause burns to the hands, fingers and palms of young children.
New Standards…and New Products…Protect Your Children
Fireplace manufacturers generally fail to place warnings on their sealed-glass gas fireplace products or offer protective barriers, such as screens and guards, to consumers to reduce the risk of gas fireplace burn injuries to small children. However, protective barriers became standard on new gas fireplaces as of January 1, 2015, due to new ANSI industry standards. If you own a gas fireplace purchased before this date, protect your little ones from burns by purchasing a protective retrofit barrier, which may include an attachable safety screen, a safety gate and/or a fireplace safety screen. (Your fireplace manufacturer can help you select the right model.) Most fireplace retailers, baby product stores and even hardware stores sell safety screen barriers and safety gates. Finally, never assume a safety barrier is enough to protect your children. Always supervise youngsters around the fireplace.