01-03-2012 (Dayton, OH) -
Every year children are bundled up to keep warm; supervised while sledding and prohibited from skating on unstable ice. However, precautions inside the home are often overlooked, causing countless injuries. Because this is such a cold time of year, parents’ main priority is keeping their children inside and away from the elements. Yet, it is the devices used in doing so which are the source injuries such as space heater burns, which Dayton Children’s treat each year.
Proper use of heating devices can not only prevent burns but also prevent encounters with lethal gases like carbon monoxide. While being informed and implementing preventative steps can make a difference, nothing can take the place of engaged supervision. With the quick turn of a parents head, children can easily get into anything. See the information below for more tips on keeping your child safe indoors.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – invisible and can kill in minutes
- Burning of any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal
- Misuse or use of broken fuel-burning appliances
- Severe headaches
- Mental confusion
- Feeling faint
- Shortness of breath
What to do
- Get fresh air immediately – leave house and leave windows and doors open
- Go to the Emergency Room – a simple blood test can be done to detect poison
- Install Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms in every sleeping area
- Have all fuel-burning appliances inspected every year before use
- Carefully follow any instructions or cautions that come with products
- Do not keep a car running in a garage, even with the garage door open
- Don’t use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time
- Don’t use a charcoal grill inside, even in a fireplace
- Don’t sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater
- Don’t use any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws, small engines or generators) in enclosed spaces
- Don’t ignore symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling them, as loss of consciousness or death could result
Staying safe and warm
Devices we often use to stay warm are a common source of severe injuries for children and pets. The following are suggested precautions you should take.
Space Heaters Dos and Don’ts
- Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use.
- Place the heater on a level, hard, nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor.
- Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials.
- Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
- Turn the heater off if you leave the area.
- Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.
- Don’t place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
- Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater, as even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of fire.
- Don’t use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space unless they are specifically designed for indoor use.
- Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
- Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
- Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
- Close glass doors when the fire is out to keep air from the chimney opening from getting into the room.
- Metal mesh screen should be closed when the glass doors are open, keeping embers from getting out of the fireplace area.
- Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces that do not have a glass fireplace door
- Never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
- Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.
- Explain to your child why they need to stay away from the fireplace and keep close supervision anytime a fireplace is in use
With cold winter temperatures, parents are always concerned with keeping their children warm and snug. However, it is equally important for them to be kept safe indoors. By taking the above precautions, you are on the right track to keeping your child safe and healthy this season.
- First Aid: Burns
- Electrical, Heating & Cooling: Household Safety Checklist
- Fire Safety
- Keeping Your Home Free From Two Toxic Gases
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