Cold Weather Creating Hot Hazard
Fireplace Glass Can Burn Children

POSTED: 10:43 a.m. EST February 5, 2004

OMAHA, Neb. -- When the snow piles up outside it's nice to get toasty around a roaring fire, but for some families the fireplace is a danger.

An Omaha pediatrician said she's seen an increase this week in toddlers burned when they get too close to the fire.

"Some of my parents realize it's a threat, but the child moves too quickly, and some parents don't realize how hot these glass doors can get," said Dr. Betsy Stephenson.

Jocelyn Wentz is 10 months old. She saw Stephenson Monday after she suffered second-degree burns on one hand. The baby touched the glass on her family's fireplace.

"She was playing with her toys on the ground," siad Jocelyn's mother, Fawn Wentz. "I noticed she was up on the hearth of the fireplace. I yelled, 'No, Jocelyn!' and ran over there."

Too late. Jocelyn's hands were on the doors for just a second, but she'll be healing from the burn for weeks.

"It takes a long time to heal," said Stephenson. "(It's a) full two weeks before they heal."

Fawn Wentz did some research and found out that their fireplace door reaches 500 degrees in just six minutes.

"I mean, I'm not that ignorant. I know it's a fireplace, (but I had) no idea that it could get up that high," Wentz said.

Stephenson warns parents to also be careful around oven doors, hot liquids, curling irons and steamers or vaporizers.
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