Paul Markert , Star Tribune

Have a hearth? Get a screen

  • Article by: Editorial
  • Scripps Howard News Service
  • December 26, 2012 - 8:37 PM

Those bright-burning holiday logs remind us of cause for modest celebration this winter: new efforts to protect children from blistering-hot gas fireplaces.

More than 2,000 children age 5 and younger were injured over a recent 10-year period after coming into contact with gas fireplaces, Consumer Reports magazine has noted. Some suffered second- and even third-degree burns.

Industry standards for gas fireplaces permit ceramic glass to reach 1,328 degrees Fahrenheit; other glass fronts can hit 446 degrees or higher.

Manufacturers of fireplace equipment, feeling the heat of potential regulation and more lawsuits, this fall adopted voluntary guidelines to outfit new gas fireplaces with a protective mesh screen -- come 2015.

Meanwhile, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, an industry trade group, suggests barriers such as child safety gates and attachable screens. And we add the importance of adult vigilance and of teaching youngsters the words "hot" and "no" -- before it's too late.


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