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Hasbro Hospital Helps Families Keep Space Heaters Safe

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

 

They're warm but can be dangerous. Make sure the whole family is using space heaters right.

Hasbro Children’s Hospital knows that winter can bring its share of emergencies, even inside. Since more families are now using portable space heaters to keep warm during winter months, proper use and safety is more important than ever.

“We typically see one or two children coming in each winter with either burns from space heaters, or toxic injuries from exposure to kerosene or gas heaters without proper ventilation,” said Susan Duffy, M.D., medical director of the Hasbro Children’s Hospital emergency department. “While the numbers are not large, these are injuries that can be very serious. If we can prevent just one fire, or one child coming in with burns or chemical exposure, then this program is a success.”

12 tips for safe space heater use

Duffy offered the following tips to help prevent avoidable injury from space heaters:

Make sure space heaters have plenty of space around them. They should be at least three feet away on all sides from anything that can burn – including furniture, papers, bedding, people, pets and curtains.

There should always be an adult in the room when a space heater is in use. Turn off space heaters before leaving the room, going to sleep or leaving the house.

Never use space heaters to dry clothing or blankets.

Never use a space heater if you suspect it may be damaged. Before use, inspect the heater, cord and plug for damage.

Be sure the space heater plug fits tightly into the wall outlet. If not, do not use the outlet to power the heater.

During use, check frequently to determine if the heater plug or cord, wall outlet or faceplate is hot. If it is, discontinue use immediately and call for service or repair.

Never power space heaters with an extension cord or power strip.

A space heater should always be placed at ground-level on a stable surface and out of the way where it will not be knocked over.

When purchasing a space heater, make sure it has been safety certified, and has a safety certification mark.

Never run a space heater cord under rugs or carpeting. This can damage the cord, causing it and nearby objects to burn. Always unplug cords when not in use.

To prevent electrical shocks and electrocutions, always keep electric heaters away from water, and never touch an electric heater if you are wet.

Only use kerosene or gas-powered space heaters in well-ventilated areas.

Creative way for kids to learn safety

To help children and their families keep safe, Hasbro now offers coloring calendar pages created by cartoonist Jim Weicherding for kids spending time in the hospital's emergency department. The “Seasons of Safety” pages, which are given to children in the hospital’s emergency department, are designed to help children and their families learn about common, avoidable injuries. The first page of the year dealt with space heaters, according to Hasbro.

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