Child Burns Hands on Fireplace Glass

Child Burns Hands on Fireplace Glass

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Ed Yeates ReportingAnother child has been severely burned after putting his hands against a glass cover on a fireplace. The one-year old boy did the same thing a little girl did several weeks ago at another home. Tonight, at least one fireplace company is talking about a new kind of prevention.

Tanner Ralphs is in fair condition tonight with second and third degree burns on his hands.

Troy Prows, Acting Captain, Unified Fire Services: "From the information we have, he and his mother were in the family room just kind of spending some time together, watching TV. And he just kind of slipped around in back of mom and went up to touch the fireplace."

Tanner's accident at his home last night is not unlike the one that severely burned the hands of Lydia Haws several weeks ago. Concerned about the increasing hazard to small children, some manufacturers are now including protective screens as part of the fireplace package. That means the customers must buy the product with the protection already on - and can only remove it themselves after it's in their house.

If a child put a hand on the unprotected glass of a fireplace that’s on, it would result in severe burns. But with the screen guard closed over it, hands can be anywhere on it. The child would feel warmth, but not enough to burn.

John LaMunyon, Hearth and Home Distributors: "On the glass, they have only a matter of a few seconds to get off that glass and it's still going to burn. Where this gives them more time. They can still pull away and not have that burn."

As we mentioned, the protection is part of the new Heat-N-Glo fireplace packages. For older fireplaces already installed, a portable screen carriage will do the same thing.

While Dr. Stephen Morris at the University of Utah Burn Center is not necessarily endorsing mandatory preventive controls, he is applauding those in the industry who have taken the lead.

Though skin on infants heals more rapidly than on adults, fireplace glass covers can produce third degree burns on their hands in just a matter of seconds.

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