Keep Tots Away from Glass-Fronted Fireplaces
A family gathered around a fireplace looks like a picture-perfect holiday setting, but if there's a toddler near a glass-fronted fireplace in the scene, serious injury could ensue.
The glass that covers fireplaces can reach temperatures of 400 degrees and is at a height curious toddlers can reach, according to Fairwarning.org, a news service that today released a disturbing investigative report on toddler burns due to fireplace glass. Since 1999, more than 2,000 children ages 5 and under have been burned from fireplace glass, according to a federal estimate reported by Fairwarning.org. It should come as no surprise that toddlers gravitate toward the beauty of flames displayed at their level, like candy in a grocery store aisle.
What is the government doing to safeguard kids? Nothing yet. Parents of children who have been burned, some consumer groups and an association of burn surgeons, nurses and therapists are all pushing the Consumer Product Safety Commission to adopt safety regulations, but the agency has remained mum so far, Fairwarning.org reports. Meanwhile, the makers of glass-fronted fireplaces want to continue policing themselves through voluntary standards. Fairwarning.org reports that the industry plans to present a revised voluntary standard to an industry technical panel on Dec.13 in the hopes of staving off regulation over toddler burns. Take a look to see if you think it adequately protects children.
Who knows when the Consumer Product Safety Commission will make a decision on this issue? The agency set up to safeguard our interests often seems like a sleepy, old lion whose teeth have fallen victim to special interests. As a parent, I've learned to stay informed of dangerous products by making my own judgments based on reports from news agencies and independent consumer groups.
And right now, it looks to me like glass-fronted fireplaces spell danger for tots. So I plan to be on the lookout for them. Wherever I go, in hotels, other people's homes or businesses, I will be warning folks with young kids to steer clear. And I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that even tired old lions can awaken when their cubs could be hurt.