Adults and children alike enjoy the warmth of a fire and enjoy watching its playful tongues dancing around the logs. However, the children do not always comprehend the real dangers that a fireplace can pose. As a parent or guardian, it is important for you to protect them from fireplace hazards. Below are five easy steps you can utilize to keep your children from hurting themselves.
The most important factor in keeping your children safe not only from fire but any other trouble is keeping a watchful eye on what they are doing. Therefore the best way to prevent burns and other dangers cause by home fires is by being a proactive parent and carefully supervising your child whenever the fireplace is lit. Begin talking to your child about the dangers fireplace poses as early as you can. Continually enforce fireplace safety guidelines/rules for them in terms they can understand. Whether your fireplace is burning or just hot, it is still best to take your child with you when you leave the room. Do not forget to douse the fire carefully when you do.
Keep Flammables Out of Reach
The fireplace can ignite many things even though they are just near it and not in it. Notice that most fireplaces do not have flammable materials surrounding them because the hearth can get very hot that during its use that it can potentially ignite these items. Flammable objects, tool sets and ignition materials pose a risk to your children. Keep them out of their reach even though you might have already warned them about the dangers. Remember to keep all flammable materials (toys, paper, craft materials, etc.) at least feet away from the fireplace. Starter sets, ignition materials and matchboxes should be put away in a separate storage in a secure location where curious children cannot get to them. Remember to block the fireplace tool set by your grate or only place it near the fireplace when it is in use.
Hearth padding is fire resistant foam that is attached to your hearth to prevent injuries that may happen to children and infants. It will do your child good if you invest in good heath padding because children can regularly hurt themselves by falling onto the raised, hard surface of the hearth or by bumping their bodies on its rough edges. You can put padding on the entire fireplace hearth or just the corners, whatever works best for the children. Padding is very simple to use and, although not very attractive, ensures your child's safety. You can also decorate your hearth padding during the seasons that your fireplace is not in use.
Grates are a very important piece to put on your fireplace. Think of picket fences which guard your home from unwanted animals. This goes the same for grates; therefore one of the easiest ways you can prevent burns in your children is by putting up grates. Do not worry about bad design, as grates now come in many styles, from simple to modern to romantic and ornate. You can easily find a grate that will go well with your fireplace and the room's theme; this ensures a safe and nice-looking room for you. You can even eliminate the need for a fireplace hearth, depending on the type of grates you use.
In almost all cases, installing glass doors is the easiest and first step in ensuring your child's safety and prevents their curious intentions from leading them to harm themselves. Glass doors stop hot embers and hot air along with sparks from flying out of the hearth and hurting anyone in the fire's vicinity. They also ensure that the children will not topple into the flames. Glass doors help protect your children from poking their hands into the hearth even though the fireplace is not in use.
A Fireplace Story - of real love
One day, a father was sitting in front of his fireplace reading a newspaper while his daughter played quietly beside him. Suddenly the child went to the fireplace and looked as if she wanted to play with the burning logs instead. The dad warned her once, then a second time. The father was too distracted with his newspaper, thinking that his daughter is a smart girl and she'll be just fine. Moments later the girl screamed a cry of agony, as she had burned her fingers in the flame. Now think about this next scenario, same setting, dad and daughter. The dad warned her the first time, then the second time. Now he saw the girl reaching for the flame and became concerned. He stood up, put out the flame and scolded the girl. Which among these two parents cared for his daughter properly? Yes, the second one.
- Remember that the fireplace tool set and ignition materials are as much a risk for older children as for any infant you may have at home. Elementary and middle school children can also hurt each other by pretending that fireplaces pokers are swords, and by starting their own fires when they aren't supervised by adults.
- Glass doors for the fireplace may protect your child or pet from the dangers of live flames, but even heat-resistant glass can reach very high temperatures that can burn a child sensitive skin. Since 2006, the number of fireplace burns caused by touching heated glass has increased by about 50 percent.
- Installing glass doors and grates helps to protect your children or even pets from poking their head into the hearth and breathing in its harmful substances.
If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.