Pediatrician - Wall
3350 Highway 138 Building 2 Suite 126
Wall, NJ 07719

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Posts for: February, 2015

February 17, 2015
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Safety screens a must for glass-fronted gas fireplaces

  1. Lucy Wibbenmeyer, M.D.

Gas fireplaces are an increasingly popular decorative addition in homes across the country. Easy-to-use and inexpensive, they require less maintenance than their wood-burning counterparts. But unlike traditional wood-burning fireplaces, glass-fronted fireplaces lack the signs that many young children associate with a hot fire. The flame is behind a panel of glass that can reach temperatures up to 1,328 degrees Fahrenheit. This puts children at a high risk of being severely burned.

In fact, according to new research, 402 children have been seen in burn centers for their injuries in the past five years after coming into contact with glass-fronted gas fireplaces. These injuries led to an estimated 17,000 medical visits, 360 emergency department visits and 33 hospital admissions per year. Hands, most often the palm, made up 95% of these burns, and about 3%-11% of hand burns needed surgery.

To prevent these burns, new standards took effect Jan. 1 requiring all new gas-burning fireplaces to be sold with a screen safety barrier to be attached when the fireplace is installed. Additional Information about burn risks also is provided in packaging. Although existing fireplaces are not affected, the rule helps prevent children from being injured from newer gas-burning fireplaces.

Experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Burn Association urge parents who own a glass-fronted gas fireplace to follow safety measures:

  • Purchase and install a protective, heat-resistant fireplace safety screen to use as a barrier on gas-burning fireplaces. The screen should be able to support the weight of the child.

  • Be aware that toddlers and young children are at significant risk of being burned by the hot glass front while a fire is burning and for at least 30 minutes after the fire is out.

  • Supervise children around gas fireplaces, especially at resorts or when visiting another home.

  • Consider not using the fireplace when young children are around.

  • If your child is burned, cool the area with water, apply moist clean bandages and seek medical attention. For more information on first aid for burns, visit

© 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics. This Parent Plus may be freely copied and distributed with proper attribution.


February 09, 2015
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Heading for the hills for some skiing or snowboarding? Insist that your child wears a helmet. Protective headgear is one of the most important things children (and adults) can wear to prevent serious injuries in fast-paced snow sports like downhill skiing or snowboarding.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises all children and adolescents to wear helmets in snow sports. Some states have laws requiring people under age 18 to wear helmets for snow sports. Yours might be one of them, and for good reason.

Snow sports-related head injuries like concussions, fractures and other skull injuries are becoming more common among kids. They make up about one-fourth of injuries children and adolescents suffer when participating in snow sports, according to a recent study. Children and teens ages 7 to 17 years have the greatest risk of injury. Skiers often are injured after running into objects, such as trees and lift poles. Snowboarders are injured most often after falling. This is why snowboarders should wear wrist guards in addition to helmets, according to the AAP.

When choosing a helmet, select one designed for skiing and snowboarding. The helmet should be rated/labeled as ASTM F2040, CEN 1077, Snell RS-98 or S-98. This means it meets the required safety features for that activity. Wearing a helmet designed for another sport may not protect your child as well from a fall or blow to the head.

Your child should try on the helmet to make sure it fits properly. It should be comfortable but snug on the head. It should not tilt forward or backwards. When your child shakes his head from side to side or up and down, the helmet should not move.

Teaching children how to prevent injuries when skiing and snowboarding also makes a difference. Research shows that people who watch a video or are taught by an instructor have fewer injuries. Participants can learn safer ways to land if they fall, for example.

Finally, it is important to choose a location that is well lit, without obstacles like trees or roads. Avoid crowded slopes, but never ski or snowboard alone. It is safer and more fun to go with an adult or a buddy.

© 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics. This Parent Plus may be freely copied and distributed with proper attribution.


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3350 Highway 138 Building 2 Suite 126,
Wall, NJ 07719