OnSafety is the Official Blog Site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Here you'll find the latest safety information as well as important messages that will keep you and your family safe. We hope you'll visit often!


Protect Young Children from Burns on Glass Fronts of Gas Fireplaces—Use Protective Barriers

Blog en español

If you have one of theseGlass front fireplace without screen


and one of these in your house,Woman with young boy

you need to hear about a new way to protect the safety of you and your family.

Starting on January 1, 2015, all new gas fireplaces, and fireplace heaters that vent to the outside, will come with a protective barrier.  This barrier will be there to prevent your child and others from coming into direct contact with the glass front of the fireplace.

Gas fireplace screen


Why should you care?

Glass front fireplace injury from burn

You should care because the glass fronts of fireplaces can reach 500° F or even 1,000° F, and children and others can be badly burned by touching the glass.

Severe burns can happen in seconds.

 Glass front fireplace injury from burn

Numerous young children have been burned this way. You can prevent this from happening to your child.
Glass front fireplace injury from burn

Protective barriers will be standard on new gas fireplaces starting on January 1.  Make sure to use the barrier.

If you already have a fireplace, buy a protective retrofit barrier to protect your little ones from being burned. Barriers can include attachable safety screens, safety gates and fireplace safety screens like you see below.  If you choose an attachable safety screen, check with your fireplace manufacturer to get the right one for your fireplace. You can buy safety screen barriers at fireplace retailers and hardware stores and purchase safety gates at big box and/or baby product stores.

Gas fireplace screen  Two young children playing in front of a screened off fireplace  Gas fireplace with screen

In addition to the safety barrier, make sure to supervise young children around the fireplace.

We want to thank the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association (HPBA), which chaired the voluntary standards committee that developed the new ANSI industry standards requiring barriers. We also want to recognize Dr. Carol Pollack-Nelson, who petitioned CPSC and sparked movement on the voluntary standards to address gas fireplace-related burns to children, and also recognize the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for sharing information with CPSC about the terrible burn injuries children have suffered by touching hot fireplace glass.

The HPBA and AAP have more safety information on their websites. Check them out.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/12/protect-young-children-from-burns-on-glass-fronts-of-gas-fireplaces-use-protective-barriers/

Stand by Your Pan: Thanksgiving Cooking Fire Prevention

Blog in Spanish

Thanksgiving Day cooking fires are triple the number of cooking fires on an average day.

See the pan on fire:

Pan on fire on a stovetop

Here’s what happens when you try to put out the fire with water:

A firefighter sprays water on the pan fire, exploding it.

The pan fire explodes.

Stand by your pan. In the event of a fire:

  • Cover the pan with a lid to smother the flames.
  • Turn off the stove.
  • Call 911.
  • Do NOT use water or flour on the fire. They can make the fire worse.
  • Keep an extinguisher nearby and use it if necessary.

Similarly, a turkey fryer can go from start to fire in less than a minute.

Turkey fryer fire before the turkey goes into the fryer and the fire afterwards

  • Never use a turkey fryer in a garage or on a porch.
  • Always use the fryer outside and away from your home.
  • Don’t overfill the fryer with oil.
  • Don’t put a frozen turkey in hot oil.

For more fire safety tips, visit CPSC’s Fire Safety Information Center

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/11/stand-by-your-pan-thanksgiving-cooking-fire-prevention/

Replace Your Smoke Alarm and CO Alarm Batteries This Sunday

Blog in Spanish

Who doesn’t love fall Time Change Sunday? We get an extra hour. What are you going to do with your newfound time?

Here’s a thought: When you wake and find yourself with that extra hour, change all of the batteries in your smoke and CO alarms. Talk about time well spent.

Yes, it’s that important safety time of year, when we government folks, along with fire and other safety officials around the country, recommend that you spend some time focused on safety. There’s good reason for this, as these alarms save lives. Remember, they can only do their job if you do yours.

It’s simple:

When you do this:

Clock showing 2'o clock with arrow to clock showing 1 o'clock

Take a few moments to do this, too:

Hands inserting a new battery into a smoke alarm

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/10/replace-your-smoke-alarm-and-co-alarm-batteries-this-sunday/

Working Smoke Alarms: Your Life May Depend On Them!

Fireplaces are a symbol of a warm and welcoming home. But using them improperly can lead to tragedies.

Tragedies involving fires pull at our heartstrings — like the Christmas morning fire that tragically killed three children and their grandparents in Stamford, Conn.  (Source: Ct. Post)

According to the Connecticut Post, the family had used their fireplace that day. Stamford, Ct.’s chief fire marshal told the Ct. Post that the initial investigation determined that the fireplace ashes and embers were discarded in a bag, which started the fire.

Based on news stories, it’s currently unclear whether there were any working smoke alarms in the home.

We at CPSC are truly saddened by these deaths and others like them.

SO PLEASE MAKE A MENTAL NOTE: Before starting a fire in the fireplace, make sure ALL of your home’s smoke alarms are working.

Even hard-wired smoke alarm systems need a battery backup, by the way.

That brings us to Mental Note No. 2: Soak hot ashes in water and place them in a covered metal container outside of your home. That’s the recommendation of the U.S. Fire Administration.

Every year, more than 3,000 people die in residential fires. About two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no working smoke alarms. You can cut the risk of dying from a fire by almost half by simply having properly installed and maintained smoke alarms in your home.

When did you last check your smoke alarms? Do you test them every month? Smoke alarms save lives every year. But remember, they can only save your life if they are able to warn you!

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/12/working-smoke-alarms-your-life-may-depend-on-them/

The Beep That Can Save Your Life


That’s the sound you want to hear if there’s a fire in your home. Unfortunately, too many people never hear an alarm.

We estimate that nearly 2,400 people die each year because of unintentional home fires. About two-thirds of these fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or with smoke alarms that don’t work, perhaps because someone has removed the battery and forgotten to replace it. A smoke alarm’s warning can cut the risk of dying from a fire in your home by almost half.

Beep, Beep, Beep!

Many of us have heard those smoke alarm dead battery chirps – usually at an inopportune time such as 2 a.m. A common response: Remove the battery, go back to sleep, and forget to put in a new battery.

Even when you’re sleep-deprived, that annoying sound does NOT mean remove the battery and forget about it. It means CHANGE THE BATTERY!

When you’re changing that battery, look around your home for where you have smoke alarms. Do you have one on every floor? In every bedroom?

Smoke alarms are just one layer of  protection for your home. CPSC along with the National Fire Protection Association urge you to develop a fire escape plan. Each person should know two ways out of every room. Set a family meeting place outside. And then practice it twice a year. REALLY!

In addition to these two key layers of protection, follow these safe practices to prevent a fire:

  • Cook Safely: Stay in the kitchen and keep a watchful eye while you are cooking. Unattended cooking is the No. 1 cause of cooking fires.
  • Check your home’s electrical safety. Heating and cooling equipment are the second-most common source of home fires. Here is a checklist that walks you through how to keep your family safe room by room.
  • Use caution when smoking and don’t smoke in bed. From 2006 to 2008, smoking materials caused about 600 deaths each year.
  • Buy lighters with  a child-safe mechanism if you have kids at home. It’s obvious, but children and fire don’t mix.
  • Stop using recalled gel fuels in fire pots. CPSC has recalled millions of bottles of gel fuel due to burn and flash fire hazards. The pourable gel fuel can ignite homes  unexpectedly and splatter onto people and objects nearby when it is poured into a firepot that is still burning.
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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/10/the-beep-that-can-save-your-life/