Burn Awareness Week: Be Aware of the Hazards
a guest post by Carson Gaffney, a Program Associate at Kids In Danger (KID), a nonprofit dedicated to keeping children safe by improving children’s product safety.
During 2018 Burn Awareness Week, we want to draw attention to common burn and fire hazards that your child may encounter. A KID report about fire and burn hazards found that between 2007 and 2017 there were 121 children’s products recalled for fire and burn hazards. Of the products recalled, the most common were clothing that violated flammability standards and battery-powered toys. We’ll explain more about those two common sources of fire and burn hazards and also address hoverboards, an emerging source of fire hazards.
In December 2017 there were 26,000 units of children’s pajamas recalled due to failure to meet flammability standards for children’s sleepwear - thus posing a risk of burn injuries to children. Children’s pajamas must meet federal safety standards for flame resistance or be “tight fitting” as defined by specific dimensions, since loose-fitting clothing is more likely to catch fire.
Battery Powered or Motorized Products
Battery packs or toys with power adapters can overheat, posing a fire or burn hazard. This is the issue that occurs within hoverboards, which is explained more below.
Moving forward, manufacturers should work find safer alternatives to lithium-ion batteries. For now, consumers who own products containing lithium-ion batteries should exercise caution. Monitor these products while they are charging, do not leave them plugged in once harged, and supervise children using them.
A recent recall has also turned attention to children’s products with motors such as this cribside space heater that was recalled after 5 separate reports of the heaters catching fire. A broken part caused the electronic heating source to come into contact with other material on the inside, resulting in an ignition and risk of fire. A similar recall occurred in October 2017 with a Fisher-Price Motion Seat. The seat was recalled due to the risk of the motor overheating and causing a fire.
Unfortunately, hoverboards remain a significant burn and fire hazard. In March 2017, a 2-year-old and 10-year-old were killed in a house fire that was ignited by a hoverboard in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In November, the CPSC published a hoverboard safety alert in the wake of 7 subsequent hoverboard recalls that month alone. These seven recalls add to the total 20 hoverboard recalls that have occurred since 2016 due to fire or explosion hazards. The CPSC estimates that hoverboard-related hazards have resulted in over $4 million in property damage in addition to the 13 burn injuries and 3 smoke inhalation injuries they’ve caused. KID and other product safety organizations released a statement encouraging consumers to only use UL 2272 certified hoverboards.
Follow updates on safety tips and burn hazards by following the hashtag #BurnAwarenessWeek on social media.