5 Tips to Child Proof Your Fireplace
While winter may seem like a long way off, now is an excellent time to get your fireplace and chimney ready so you have one less thing to worry about when cold weather arrives. If you have a toddler or young children, it’s essential that you make your fireplace as child and baby-proof as possible, and in this post we’ll show you how.
The fireplace is a cozy addition to your home, but it’s also dangerous if you’re not careful. Unfortunately, children aren’t always as careful as they should be, and some are too young to know the dangers. According to FEMA, Each year, an average of 3,650 children aged 14 or younger are injured or killed in residential fires. Forty percent of these casualties are under the age of five.
They go on to say that most fire-related casualties occur during December and January when we see increases in structural fires caused by heating appliances like fireplaces. Not only are families at risk for house fires caused by heating equipment, but children are also at risk of severe burns around fireplaces. Moreover, children and adults are susceptible to air pollutants caused by wood or gas fireplaces, including carbon monoxide and particulate in the air.
How to Child Proof Your Fireplace
Here are the top five tips for keeping your children safe around your fireplace.
Install a Hearth Gate
We get it; installing a hearth gate or baby gate around your fireplace removes some of the ambiance and charm, but it will protect your baby or toddler and give you peace of mind. Make sure you choose a gate that securely attaches to the walls or floors and has a latch that’s difficult for your child to open. And, if you’re worried about the appearance, there are many gates available in a style that will compliment your home’s decor.
Cover the Opening
Fireplaces and infants are a dangerous combination, so you must take precautions to protect your child from getting injured. Besides adding a hearth gate, it’s wise to invest in glass doors to stop your child from getting burned by the flames and avoid other injuries. If you don’t want to invest in glass doors, you can install a screen instead, although it won’t provide the same protective barrier as glass doors would.
Always Supervise Your Child
It goes without saying, but never leave your young child unattended when you’re using your fireplace.
Move Flammable Items Away
Many fire-related injuries happen when something catches fire, and it’s more common than you might think. If you have a fireplace, it’s easy for embers or sparks to fly out and ignite flammable items if you don’t have a screen or doors protecting you. However, even with precautions, it’s a good idea to keep flammable items like newspapers, magazines, curtains, and furniture at least three feet or more away from the fire as an added precaution.
Teach Fire Safety
If your children are old enough, teach them about being safe around the fireplace and the dangers of playing with fire. Statistics show the leading cause of fire casualties in the home is children playing with fire.
It’s also wise to plan an escape route if everyone needs to get out of the house quickly because of a fire and practice it regularly. These tips can keep your children safe when enjoying the fire and protect your pets.
We’re Your Local Chimney Pros
Mercer County Chimney Service is the chimney and fireplace professionals residents in Hamilton, NJ, and Mercer County trust the most. We’re family owned and operated, and our technicians are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fireplace Institute.