The Hidden Danger of Gas Fireplaces

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Updated May 29, 2019

Toddlers are extremely adventurous. Blink your eyes, and they’re out of your sight. By the time you leave them alone for a second to take dinner out of the oven, they’re halfway up the stairs or reaching for something they shouldn’t be bothering.

Gas Fireplace Injuries

An estimated 11 million homes have gas fireplaces. You may think your gas fireplace is safe because the fire is contained. What you might not realize is the safety glass can reach temperatures up to 500 degrees. Third degree burns can occur within seconds at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Even after the fireplace is turned off, it typically takes 45 minutes before it cools down to a safe temperature.

Children, especially under the age of two, are at an increased risk of burns because they’re busy exploring and unsteady on their feet. Between 1999–2009, 2,000 children age five and under suffered burn injuries from fireplace glass.

Safety Standards

Currently, there aren’t federal regulations requiring manufacturers to protect people from the hot glass. The Consumer Protection Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has notified the industry and is allowing them to develop a fix. The industry has proposed a new safety standard that would require all gas fireplaces to come with a barrier screen that would keep hands and fingers away from the hot glass. The voluntary rule doesn’t take effect until January 2015, but many manufacturers are already offering safety screens.

Consumers are recommended to contact their gas fireplace manufacturer to see if they sell or offer a barrier screen to fit their fireplace.

Duty of Care

A manufacturer has a duty to make a safe product.  Manufacturers of these dangerous fireplaces oftentimes do not warn or instruct consumers of the extreme danger in touching the fireplace doors even for an instant, including the risk of third degree burns, nor do they provide a screen that would protect toddlers from this hazard.  Product liability cases against these manufacturers seeking compensation for the burns to infants have been successful throughout the country.

Wilson Kehoe Winingham brings you this information with best regards for you and your family’s safety.

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