The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires and more than 300 deaths are caused each year by space heaters. More than 6,000 Americans receive hospital emergency room care annually for burn injuries associated with room heaters.
“Bitter cold, ice and snow are here for many parts of the East and Midwest bringing with it burn injuries caused by improper use of heating devices,” said Michael Mosier, MD, burn surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center. The Loyola Burn Center is one of the busiest in the Midwest, treating nearly 700 patients annually in the hospital, and another 3,500 patients each year in its clinic.
The Burn Center at Loyola University Medical Center is warning the public about the dangers of space heaters used by so many to keep warm.
“If proper precautions are taken, space heaters can be used safely; but so often they aren’t and house fires ignite,” says Mosier, who is an assistant professor at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. “Whole families are seriously injured, often for life.” About 40 percent of Loyola’s burn cases are children and the majority of these children are ages 2 and younger.