A fireplace brings warmth and comfort. As a newly married couple, you might spend many hours of most evenings by the fireplace.
When kids and pets come into the picture, the fireplace could also become a hazard or dangerous for them. The sharp edges, the heat, and the carbon monoxide all become dangerous. Have you considered taking the time to baby-proof the fireplace?
You can still enjoy your fireplace and keep the family safe. By learning to baby-proof the fireplace, everyone can feel confident and relax. There may be a few purchases along the way to help ensure safety.
In this post, you will learn:
Different ways to baby-proof a fireplace including:
- Gated Fireplace
- Glass Fireplace Cover
- Switching to Electric Fireplace
- Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Chalkboard Fireplace Cover
- Fireplace Screen
- Magnetic Fireplace Cover
- Other Fireplace Barriers
- Protecting Children From the Hearth
- Keeping Fireplace Tools Away from Children’s Reach
- Teaching Children the Dangers of Fire
A fireplace gate is simple to install and efficient when you need a fast solution. It creates a distance between the baby and the fireplace. The gate protects them from the heat, carbon monoxide, and the sharp edges of the fireplace.
The gate acts like a shield against the heat. When shopping for gates, pick one that not only protects your baby but also adds beauty to your home. Most gates are either metallic or wooden. Metal gates are more durable than other materials. They are also heavy that the baby cannot push them around. Wooden gates add to the beauty of your space, but they might be relatively expensive.
Consider a versatile baby gate. Most gates act as a barrier to bar the baby from getting into the fireplace. However, try using them to form a play yard or superyard. Some come with removable panels. Whichever gate you choose, ensure the height is enough to keep a toddler off the fireplace and includes easy installation.
Gates that secure to the fireplace are safer than movable options. They are also less versatile. Others come with a small lockable door to prevent unwanted access to the fireplace.
After the baby gate is purchased, maybe from Amazon — how do you install it?
Most of the gates come with instructions and specific dimensions. However, it is important to measure the area you need to install the gate before shopping. Choose a gate that will fit your baby barrier needs.
Glass Fireplace Cover
Glass insulation is a nice option to increase safety for babies, toddlers, and pets in your home. The glass door acts as insulation to keep the heat off after using the fireplace. However, a high-quality glass door may be needed to withstand the pressure from inside the fireplace.
The glass door comes in handy for the combustion fireplace. Unlike a gas or electric fireplace where you can just switch off the gas after using the fireplace, the wood fireplace takes time to go off. When closing the glass door, less oxygen goes into the fireplace and the logs will go off.
Some glass surfaces are cool to touch. However, you might come across hot glass that is unsafe for your child. In other instances, the glass might have openings that let out the heat from the fireplace, causing harm to a child who is playing nearby. To prevent this, install foam insulation around the fireplace with your glass door. The insulation keeps off heat that may escape from the sides of the glass door and ensures baby safety. This way, a child can play as close to the fireplace as they want.
Switching to Electric Fireplace
Increasing child and pet safety can be simple. Consider switching to an electric fireplace.
This option gives a realistic flame experience complete with burning coal. It heats the room more efficiently than wood or gas fireplaces and thermostat control assist the ideal temperature. Due to the control reducing your monthly utility bills becomes more realistic. Try our utility cost calculator tool to understand more about the impact on your bill. It simply plugs into a wall, making it a better alternative to a traditional wood fireplace.
The electric fireplace doesn’t have actual flames. This means that the fireplace doesn’t produce smoke and venting is not necessary. The fireplace also doesn’t emit any fumes such as carbon monoxide that comes with combustion fireplaces. This way, you do not need a smoke detector, a vent, or a chimney.
Some high-end electric fireplaces, such as MagikFlame electric fireplaces, use LED lights to simulate real flames. Read more about how a MagikFlame is built. These fireplaces fall into either mechanical or steam-based fireplaces. The mechanical units use a rotating shaft, mirrors, and an electric motor. The mirrors reflect the LED lights to create a flame effect. Water and steam-based fireplaces can produce a single flame effect, but due to the maintenance and additional costs involved, there are better options on the market.
How Safe are Electric Fireplaces?
The glass surface of electric fireplaces is cool-to-touch. In most cases, the fireplace will install flush with the wall and no sharp corners or edges are left. This way, the baby can play near the fireplace as long as they do not break the glass to access the heating element.
Instead of gates and other methods of baby proofing a fireplace, one can install an electric fireplace where the combustion unit was.
Electric fireplaces are easy to control. This is unlike the combustion system that might require you to chop wood and then spend your evening trying to get the wood to light. You can control the fireplace using the buttons on the front of the console, or you can use a remote control. Modern fireplaces come standard with a remote control.
More advanced units come with a backlit touchscreen that makes it more convenient to control your fireplace in dimly lit and bright rooms. Better yet, there are more advanced systems that allow smartphone controls.
Not only are the fireplaces safer for a baby and toddler, but they are also more convenient to use.
You can check out the MagikFlame electric fireplace. It has the following main features:
- 30 ultra-realistic flames with holographic projection technology
- Built-In 5,200 BTU heater
- Crackling log sounds
- Free Technology Updates
- Available scent module to simulate the smell of pine
Carbon Monoxide Detector
If you have a wood-burning or gas fireplace in your home, a smoke and a carbon monoxide detector is a must. These two devices need to be at every level of your home to keep a family safe.
All the smoke should ideally go through the chimney. However, if the chimney has not been cleaned for a while, the smoke might come back into the house. Carbon monoxide negatively affects the delivery of oxygen in the body. In turn, being a challenge for the little ones’ health.
Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless. Unfortunately, recognizing it is in your home until it is too late is a common threat. Learn more carbon monoxide safety tips from FEMA.
By investing in a detector that sounds an alarm, there is an opportunity to prevent a difficult situation for the friends and family members.
Consider a double-duty battery-powered device that detects smoke and carbon monoxide. Such a device will sound the alarm when it detects either smoke or carbon monoxide. Most of these units are easy to install.
Whichever system you choose, ensure monthly testing. The detector will help you not only detect CO from the fireplace, but also from the wood stove, car, BBQ grill, and portable generator among others.
Chalkboard Fireplace Cover
Covers are great when the fireplace is not in use. The chalkboard cover is a clever way to keep the fireplace out of reach for babies, toddlers, kids, and pets instead engage them in creative activities. This wooden cover fits on the opening of your fireplace, blocking out the heat, the CO, and ensuring the child doesn’t hurt themselves on the edges and corners of the fireplace.
Most parents pay attention to their kids when the fireplace is in use. When the fireplace is not in use, the parents may let down their guard — so a fireplace cover adds to peace of mind.
Magnetic Fireplace Cover
If you are wondering how you will baby proof your fireplace without the use of large gates, perhaps you should consider insulated covers. This cover serves the same function as the chalkboard cover above, but without the added benefit of fun kids’ activities. Keep in mind that kids can still stick shapes and drawings on the cover.
The magnetic cover gives you a childproof fireplace. It doesn’t need space in your living room such as gates do. The covers act the same as fireplace doors, but you insert them into the opening of the fireplace.
Another method of baby proofing a fireplace is by use of a screen. While the gate bars toddlers from getting to the fireplace, a screen prevents the toddlers from seeing the fireplace altogether. There are some transparent screens on the market, but a non-transparent screen is the best.
Toddlers are curious and once they see the fireplace, they will want to get closer and touch or play with it. With a non-transparent screen, you shift the baby’s attention away from the fireplace. Like gates, screens come in different designs to complement your home’s interior décor. Consider a plain design that doesn’t attract the baby’s attention. Purchasing a sturdy design.
You can use a magnetic vent cover and a magnetic draft stopper to make the fireplace safer and more secure.
Other Fireplace Barriers
Try DIY barriers instead of the store-bought covers and gates. These options are ideal when you need to baby proof your fireplace, but you are running on a tight budget. Here, you only need to create a barrier around the entire fireplace using something that a baby cannot push.
If you need an inexpensive way to make a baby proof fireplace, then try wood blocks to create a barrier. Supplies include a pile of firewood on the opening of the fireplace. This method is only applicable when you are not using the fireplace, but it keeps kids a little more restricted with this barrier. It also frees up space in the cabinet you’d have used to store your firewood.
You can also use an elevated freestanding bench placed in front of the fireplace. The bench needs to be heavy so that the child doesn’t push it out of the way, and it also needs childproofing. If you need the bench to look stylish, you can add a cover and pillows to it. It ensures the fireplace hearth is out of reach for the baby.
Baby proofing your fireplace can also be as simple as using a pile of bookcases. Here, you can use empty plastic boxes filled with books.
Place the boxes strategically that they create a barrier between the fireplace and the baby. Books are heavy and the baby will not be able to push them around. Plus, the boxes make the place tidy.
Protecting Children From the Hearth
Even when you do not plan on lighting a fire on your fireplace, you still need to keep it childproof. Unlike built-in units or electric units that install flush to the wall, the wood fireplace has edges and corners that can injure a child.
If the child falls in the hearth, they might end up with severe injuries. This is where you need a hearth cushion. You need to install the padding on top of the hearth and the sides.
The Roving Cove is one of the most popular padded cushion options. It comes as 15 feet hearth pads that you can use for the edges of the hearth. This cushion will protect your child and also blend with your interior décor. Once you place the pad, you will barely notice it. Pads are made of foam, making them soft and sturdy. The material is also safe as the pad contains non-chemical ingredients. This pad is also dense and this makes them protective if your baby ever falls on them.
With hearth pads, you do not need a professional as you can just peel them and stick them where you need them.
You can also pick the Bow-Tiger Bumpers. These have the same effects as the Roving Cove pads which sport a thick construction, are long-lasting, and feature eight corner cushions.
Each set covers 17 feet and they stick with ease, thanks to their double-sided tape. It is also eco-friendly and safe for the child. Each set comes light in color to blend into different homes.
Keeping Fireplace Tools Away from Children’s Reach
It is common for homeowners to leave a screwdriver and a poker and other tools in the hearth. It feels like a safe place for the tools, but when the baby is in the room, you need to look for a different place. The poker, for instance, is sharp and can injure a baby. This poker is full of soot, ashes, and sometimes even rust. It is a tool you do not want your kid to put in their mouth.
If you have a cabinet near the hearth, you can keep the tools there for easy access. Otherwise, you can have them in the mantle. If you have a hearth door with a hearth fireplace door lock, you can leave them in the hearth without any worry.
Teaching Children the Dangers of Fire
Even if you use the best cushion strip from Kidkusion, you still need to teach your kiddo about the dangers of fire. You can sit down toddlers and tell them what happens when they touch fire. You can use analogies and examples they understand. The idea is not to scare them away, but to inform them, and this can help prevent injuries at home.
You also need to keep an eye on them even when you have all the measures to protect them. They do not understand any disclaimer that the hearth might be hot or might cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Kids are curious and the flames might pique their interest, so always ensure you monitor them.
Kids need to learn what to do in case there is a fire accident and you are not around. The easiest way for them to learn not to play with fire is when you do not play with fire when they are around. This way, they will leave the fire for adults to handle.
It’s easier to achieve a baby proof, childproof, and pet-friendly fireplace than in the past. Start with small changes such as DIY barriers, and then move to adjustable gates and doors or flame-retardant glass doors. Education and teaching the best practices of fire safety also go a long way.
Don’t forget to clean your chimney often to ensure it does not block and force the smoke back into the home. This way, you will have protected the baby from heat and from carbon monoxide poisoning. Before purchasing screens, doors, covers, and gates — consider other means to prevent kids or pets from getting to the fireplace.