They’re beautiful and cost-effective, but most fireplaces present a potential safety hazard for your children – even when they’re not in use. In fact, the very things that give the fireplace its beauty are oftentimes the same reasons they can be dangerous. Because while brick, wood, and mortar make for long-lasting, dependable fireplace construction, they’re also hard to fall upon of crash into, meaning your child could face cuts and bruises or worse.
Fireplace dealers recommend taking the following steps to making sure your fireplace is a safe place for your children.
Reduce Harmful Injuries With a Heath Pad
Falling on a brick, marble, or concrete hearth can present plenty of cuts and bruises dangers to even older children (and adults.) Falling against the edge of brick or concrete hearth can present risks that are even more serious.
Use a hearth pad to cushion the heart’s hard, sharp edges. Similar to a bumper, the hearth pad fits around the top edge of the hearth with tape or other non-permanent adhesive. It’s treated to be resistant to heat, so you can still enjoy your fireplace even with the mat protecting your kids.
Keep Small Children at a Safe Distance with a Fireplace Gate
Similar to the mesh screens used to cordon off staircases, fireplace gates also sometimes resemble small fences. They’re sometimes tri-fold, like a wardrobe screen, and made of material durable enough to stand up to a child’s pushing and jostling. (Some models have five segments instead of the usual three.) Other models resemble a small garden fence, complete with swinging entry gate.
Hearth gates also work in the backyard, too, keeping children at a safe distance from barbecue pits and grills.
Teach Your Children The Basics Of Fireplace Safety
Educating your children on the importance of fire safety – and fireplace caution and safety – remains the most effective means of preventing hurtful injuries not just in your house but out in the world, as well.
Fire safety is also a great way to spend time with your kids, helping them understand why fire safety remains important and that you’re trusting them with valuable information.
A partial list of fire safety rules to remember should include:
- Matches are not toys. They should only be used to start fires inside the fireplace.
- The fireplace, including the hearth and mantel, are not a playset. Children shouldn’t hang from the mantel or jump off the hearth.
- The fireplace interior – known as the firebox – is off limits. Children should be taught not to climb inside or remove any screens or doors in order to get inside.
- Likewise, stacked firewood beside the fireplace or outside should not be climbed on or otherwise disturbed. Falling logs can hurt, and smaller children can get ankles caught between logs as they fall.
- If a fire is lit inside the fireplace, children should be taught not to approach closer than three feet from the hearth. Also, they should never wear loose or bagging clothing around the fireplace or around stacks of firewood.
For more on helping children avoid fire-related injuries, check out our Parent’s Guide to Barbecue and Campfire Safety