U.S.: About 6,000 burned by space heaters

Feb. 24, 2013 at 12:54 AM
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CHICAGO, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- More than 6,000 Americans receive hospital emergency room care annually for burn injuries associated with room heaters, a burn expert says.

Dr. Richard Gamelli, director of the Burn and Shock Trauma Institute at Loyola University Medical Center near Chicago, said every year the hospital receives patients who are victims of house fires caused by space heaters.

"So many of these injuries are preventable if simple precautions are taken," he said.

About 40 percent of Loyola's burn cases are children and the majority of these children are 2 and younger.

General portable heater safety tips include:

-- Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from furniture or other combustible material, such as curtains and bedding. Don't place heaters on carpets or rugs.

-- Locate space heaters on a hard, level surface where a child or family pet cannot brush up against them.

-- Never leave a space heater on when an adult is not present in the room.

-- Never keep flammable liquids near a space heater.

-- Mobile homes should use only vented fuel-fired or electric heaters.

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