“…Under the voluntary standard, the glass is allowed to reach temperatures as high as 500 degrees or 1,328 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of glass used. Up to now, most manufacturers have not provided screens or prominent safety warnings out of fear of marring the aesthetic appeal of fireplaces or scaring off customers…”
Some have argued that the risks of a fireplace are so obvious that keeping kids safe is simply a matter of good parenting and common sense. However, some child burn victims were hotel guests whose parents had no experience with gas fireplaces.
Fred Stephens’ 11-month-old daughter Lila had to have skin grafts on both palms after suffering third-degree burns from fireplace glass at a resort in the Wisconsin Dells in 2010.
To stave off regulation and lawsuits over severe burns to toddlers, manufacturers will provide protective screens as standard equipment with new gas fireplaces. The industry has revised its voluntary guidelines to call for the addition of mesh screens attached to new fireplaces to prevent contact with the scorching glass fronts.
Fireplace makers will have a long lead time — until Jan. 1, 2015 — to provide screens with new units, though companies are already retooling to do it sooner, said Tom Stroud, a senior manager with the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.
As reported by FairWarning, more than 2,000 children age 5 and under were injured by contact with the unprotected glass in a recent 10-year period, according to a federal database. The injuries triggered at least a dozen lawsuits and scrutiny by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
For more: http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2012/12/new_gas_fireplaces_to_get_safe.html