Fireplaces give ambiance and warmth to a room, but they aren't exactly safe for curious babies and toddlers. This age group enjoys getting their hands on everything. That's why curious toddlers can't get enough of the glowing fireplace that draws their attention, and it's also why it's so dangerous in terms of burns and house fires.
We've put together a list of safety tips and techniques on how to baby proof a fireplace and make your entire hearth area more kid-friendly.
Have a Fireplace Safety Gate
Keeping children away from the fireplace is the most obvious approach to babyproof it. The best method to handle this is to use a safety gate around the fireplace especially if you have a flat hearth.
You can use a baby gate as a barrier for your fireplace since it is a very versatile product. It can be used as a divider to separate certain areas in your home, your stairs, or simply set it up as a free-standing play yard.
Maintain a safe space between the gate and the fireplace. If it's too close, a spark could strike it and set it on fire. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you should set your gate further away from the hearth to safeguard your children from the embers and sparks from the open fire.
The ideal distance is approximately 5 feet. You can, however, put your gate considerably closer if you have a gas fireplace. Fireplace safety gates will help protect your child from hot glass burns, which unfortunately occur much too frequently.
Did you know? Every year, about 200 children suffer third-degree burns from hot fireplace surfaces.
Babyproof Stepped Hearths
Stepped hearths are a little riskier. If you have a stepped hearth, your child could easily run into it and be injured by the sharp and rough edges. The best way is to cover it with a hearth pad and corner pieces, as well as double-sided tape so it sticks to the surface of your hearth.
Install a Fireplace Glass Door with Lock
If you don't want to use a baby gate, a fireplace glass door can be installed instead. The glass door protects your child from fireplace breaches. Nobody wants their kid or toddler crawling around inside their fireplace, whether it's a gas or wood-burning fireplace.
A fireplace glass door serves more than only to keep your child safe, it also protects your whole family and your entire home. It keeps sparks and smoke from coming inside your home. When not in use, make sure to use a fireplace door lock to keep children from getting inside the fireplace.
Clean Your Chimney Regularly
Soot and creosote build up on the chimney's walls every time you use your fireplace. This causes a clog in your chimney, preventing smoke from moving up and out. Because there is nowhere else for the smoke to go, it will puff back into your home, making it extremely hazardous to inhale - especially for children.
You may want your chimney to be professionally inspected to help you figure out when your next chimney sweep is due.
Cleaning your fireplace varies, depending on the type of fireplace you have. Here's How to Clean a Fireplace.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide is produced when wood, coal, or gas are burned, and if fireplace vents and exhausts aren't cleaned regularly or properly, carbon monoxide levels increase and become toxic to your home.
Did you know? Every year, roughly 20,000 children are sent to emergency rooms due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Any home with a fireplace should invest in a carbon monoxide detector and make sure they are working properly. This will keep you and your child from inhaling carbon monoxide from the fireplace.
Keep Your Fireplace Tools Out of Reach
Keep fireplace accessories and tools out of your children's reach. It’s best to store them in a nearby cupboard or on the mantle where they can't easily reach. Those tools can be sharp, and covered with soot and ash, you don't want any of that to end up in your baby's hands and mouth.
The main steps to child proof fireplaces are outlined above. However, we recommend taking a few more extra precautions to keep them as secure as possible.
Explain the safety precautions to your children, not to scare them, but to be aware of the risks and dangers of fire. A young child will be curious about anything, especially if it involves fire. Explaining the hazards of fire is the best thing you can do.
To keep your child safe, keep an eye on them at all times, especially if the fireplace is still burning. Children will always be curious and adventurous. They might do something harmful if left unsupervised.
When it comes to fireplace safety, baby-proofing your fireplace is a must.
The purpose of childproofing your home is to prevent accidents from happening. It's very important to have a childproof or baby proof fireplace, and it's not difficult to achieve. Making this simple step, along with discussing to them the dangers of a fireplace, may be all that is needed to keep them safe. Always keep an eye on your children and never leave them unaccompanied.
Hope you find this article helpful. Feel free to share this article with any parents or grandparents you know who might benefit from it!
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