1. #1
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    Default Small Children And Gas Fire Places.... A Safety Advisory

    Its just good common sense, but we all forget sometimes....

    Gas fireplaces a hazard for young children, Sick Kids Hospital warns

    Canadian Press Thursday, January 16, 2003

    TORONTO (CP) - Gas fireplaces can be a serious hazard for families with young children, the Hospital for Sick Children warns.

    Over the Christmas holidays, the hospital's burn unit treated four children for burns caused by gas fireplaces, bringing to 24 the number of such cases at the hospital in the past three years. Between 1995 and mid-2002, there were 122 cases reported at 15 hospitals across the country, the hospital said in a news release.

    "When a child's hand is burned, initial care can last up to one year. This often requires a stay in hospital, followup medical visits, rehabilitation, and possible loss of hand function," said Julie Zettel-Rodgers, outpatient care co-ordinator for the burn unit.

    "Scarring can also be an issue until the child finishes growing, which can take a significant length of time."

    In the case of gas fireplaces, children burn their hands and fingers from contact with the glass barrier at the front of the fireplaces. This often happens when children fall towards the fireplace and push up against the hot glass for balance, or touch the glass out of curiosity, resulting in third-degree burns.

    "It only takes seconds for a child to be seriously burned," said Amy
    Zierler, information specialist at Safe Kids Canada, the national injury prevention program at the Hospital for Sick Children.

    Children under the age of five, and especially under two, are at increased risk because they are "busy exploring and are often unsteady on their feet."

    The danger doesn't disappear when the fire is extinguished. The glass
    barrier can heat up to over 200 degrees Celsius in about six minutes, and it takes 45 minutes for the fireplace to cool to a safe temperature after a fire has been extinguished. Children have also been burned when the fireplace is not in use by the heat from the ignition light.

    "We urge the industry that makes and sells gas fireplaces to warn consumers of this burn risk and to investigate design changes to help protect children," Zierler said.

    Safe Kids Canada recommends the following to keep children safe around gas fireplaces:

    - Never leave young children alone near a gas fireplace. They can be burned before, during and after use.

    - Create a barrier around the gas fireplace. Safety guards can be installed to keep your child at a safe distance at all times, or safety gates can keep your child from being in the room alone.

    - Consider buying a safety attachment designed to disperse heat from the fireplace doors.

    - Consider not using the fireplace if you have young children under five years of age, or using it only after they have gone to sleep. And consider turning the unit off completely, including the ignition flame, whenever the unit is not in use.

    - Teach your children about the dangers of fire.

    Copyright 2003 The Canadian Press


    These same rules would apply to any who have a wood burning stove, as we do. Just recently, Pfire's 13yr old son almost got himself an "up close and personal" introduction to my stove. He was standing infront of it, with his foot on the wood pile, John Wayne (Flying SeeBee's style) while talking to his sister, when the log his foot was resting on rolled away from him. He stumbled towards the stove, which incidentally was just rock'n. It was more luck than skill that when he started to fall, he fell to the left into the firewall instead of straight forward or to the right - either direction would have made an omlete of his face. I looked up from the computer when I heard the Yelp, to see him with his head between the firewall and the stove, fortunately he did not try to catch his fall with his right hand, as that would have been burned. He was very quickly counselled in fire safety by both Pfire and myself.
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  2. #2
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    I personally recommend the "Hearthgate" by Kidco. I have a free-standing gas stove in my basement living room. As it is the only heat in the room, I can't leave it turned off. The hearthgate is easy to install, reasonably attractive for the living room, and does its job well. Just about the smartest money I ever spent- I have an 11 month old and 2 dogs. Shop around- there's quite a variation in price. I got mine at http://www.123safe.com/ and saved about $40 over most other places I saw.
    TW
    Essex Junction Fire Dept.
    Vermont

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