When thinking about fireplace safety you need to consider all that reside in the home. Adults are not the only ones who enjoy being in front of a beautiful home fire. Children and pets enjoy the warmth that is given off and the hypnotizing dance of the flames as well. However, having children or pets in a home where there is a fireplace can be very nerve racking because there are so many potentials for them to get hurt. And it can happen in the blink of an eye.
Don’t go ripping out the fireplace just yet though! Take these precautionary fireplace safety steps so that you can make your fireplace a safer environment for curious children and furry friends as well.
Step 1: Complete Supervision
Children and pets are very similar in the fact that they are both so curious and always learning. So the first rule of thumb when it comes to fireplace safety and children or pets is to never leave them unattended around any heat source. Which people that have children tend to already have this understanding but for those who do not safe surroundings like sharp corners or slightly hotter surfaces are not always a first concern.
No matter if it is a fireplace, wood stove, gas furnace, boiler system, or other heating appliances. There is some part of each of these heat sources that gets hot. Even if the element that gets hot is covered or hidden away a child or small pet is bound to find it.
Step 2: Install a Glass Fireplace Door
While installing a fireplace door is a good idea it needs to be followed by other fireplace safety precautions as well. The reason for this is because the glass gets very hot to the touch and if a child is too young to know not to touch the glass they can get badly burned. This is not a pleasant experience for child or parent.
Installing a fireplace door will however keep the child throwing things into the fire or being able to reach into the firebox while a fire is going. It will also protect from hot embers popping out of the fire and burning a passing by child or pet. Many pets can be found lying in front of a fireplace to sleep so this is very important for them.
Step 3: Create a Fireplace Safety Barrier
This step is also a great idea to use in conjunction with step 2. Keep small children or curious pets away from the fireplace completely by putting up a barrier surrounding the whole hearth. This will solve many fireplace safety concern all at once. You can keep them away from the hot surface that will burn them and also away from the sharp corners on the hearth.
There are many different barriers to choose from but just keep in mind that you will still need to be able to access the fireplace to tend to the fire. So choose a barrier that has a gate like the KidCo Hearth Gate. This hearth gate has a gate that is easily operated with one hand. So if you are carrying in an arm load of wood it will be no problem to get through the gate and have the gate close behind you to keep children and pets from following your through.
Step 4: Protect Toddling Children from Falls
The corners and edges of a hearth are fireplace safety concerns for families that have small children who are learning to walk or even have energetic pets or children that are playing. Toddlers are unsteady on their feet when walking and can easily fall. If they fall near the hearth they can easily hurt themselves on the edge or sharp corner.
The hearth should be covered just as you would on the corners of a coffee table or counter. You can do this by using a soft hearth pad or cushion. It will also give the adults a comfy place to unwind when the little ones are asleep.
Step 5: Keep Fireplace Tools Out of Reach
I know that having fireplace tools on the hearth is the ultimate spot for convenience but it is not the best practice for fireplace safety with children or pets for that matter.
Fireplace tool sets most commonly include a poker, shovel, broom, and a pair of tongs. The shovel or poker can be hazardous if a child was to get a hold of it. But the whole set will get dirty and covered in soot or ashes so for a child to get a hold of any part of the set would not be a good idea. They put everything to their mouths.
With fireplace tools you also need to keep in mind the older children as well. They have very creative imaginations and a metal poker would not turn out well being used as a sword.
Also the fireplace tool set could get knocked over by a child or pet that is just playing in the room resulting in them getting hurt. So the best thing to do for fireplace safety is to keep the tool sets out of reach of small children and also out of the way of being knocked over.