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[September 2017]

Caution - Children are prone to burns from hot surfaces. Window of a grill unit remains hot even after use.

Kitchen stoves with grill1 are widely used at home and familiar in Japan. The Medical Facilities Network2 received 36 reports3 of burn injuries of children around one year caused by contact with a door of a grill unit during or after use. In some severe cases, the damage extended to the deep inner skin.

Children around one year old rapidly expand their sphere of action: they pull to stand, walk with support, and then start to walk properly. A grill unit is roughly the same height as toddlers around this age, so they can touch their hands to a grill unit. Moreover, it is known that children aged one year or so start to touch things like switches, knobs, dials, etc.

Kitchen utensils like electric kettles and electric rice cookers can be kept away from children in order to protect them from burn injuries, but it is not possible to move kitchen stoves with grill which are fixed.

In order to prevent the occurrence and spread of grill related accidents, NCAC decided to issue an alert based on an examination of how the surface temperature of grill units changes during and after use as well as a survey of how child's behavioral characteristics change during their development.

  1. 1 Products discussed here are combined kitchen stoves with grill, griddle, oven, etc., regardless of heat source (gas or electricity) and installation types (built-in or stationary). In this article, these products are called "kitchen stoves with grill" and the embedded part is called the grill unit. Incidentally, portable desktop electric cookers are excluded.
  2. 2 The Medical Facilities Network is a joint project by the Consumer Affairs Agency and NCAC which started operating from Dec. 2010. The network collects accident reports on people receiving treatment at medical facilities after suffering life-threatening or bodily injuries in their daily lives.
  3. 3 The number was specially counted for this press release.

Information received by the Medical Facilities Network

  • Among the total 39 incidents of burn injuries from contact with a hot grill unit, 3 incidents were experienced by adults and 36 incidents were experienced by toddlers aged 8 to 25 months.
  • Hands and fingers were most prone to burns (second-degree or more serious burns). More than 60% of the injured needed to attend a hospital after the first medical examination.
  • Dinner time was the most common time of the accidents.

Survey and test results

Survey on toddler characteristics

  • Toddlers aged one year or so are roughly the same height as grill units, and can easily touch them.
  • Toddlers have thinner skin and slower responses than adults, so they get burned at lower temperatures than adults.

Temperature measurement of grill doors and check of caution labels

Three standard types of grill units were chosen from those available from ordinary stores to conduct a series of product tests. NCAC measured the surface temperature of each window of the grill units during use. In the same way, NCAC measured the surface temperature of a temperature rise restraining door which was sold as an optional component.

  • When grilling three salmon fillets, the center surface temperature of the window increased up to 150 degrees C in some cases. The temperature was 50 degrees C or more for 15 minutes after turning off. Use of the temperature rise restraining door lowered the maximum temperature by 30 degrees C or so and shortened the period at 50 degrees C or more.
  • The grill unit built in the IH cooking heater tested by NCAC has an oven function. When using the oven function for a long time, the surface temperature rose to a level posing a risk of burns.
  • Caution messages about a risk of burns during and after use were written on all the products and instruction manuals thereof.

Advice for consumers

  • A window of a grill unit remains hot for a while even after use. Keep children away from a grill unit.
  • It is also helpful to use a product capable of restraining a temperature rise.
  • If somebody touched a hot grill unit, cool the contact area with clean running water right away.

Requests to businesses

  • NCAC requests businesses to develop safer products and to further disseminate safety measures.