Education Blog
Parenting

How to Baby Proof a Fireplace

September 23, 2021

Fireplaces can warm the ambience and air temperature in any living space. Indoor fires pose inherent dangers and should be considered carefully. These considerations are different if a child or baby is near a fireplace or fire. It is possible to babyproof your fireplace to avoid burns and other non-heat related injuries. Child safety should be a priority when there’s a fireplace around or backyard cookouts.

Fireplace With Barriers

To protect your baby from burns, it is a good idea for you to put up a double-layered barrier. A fireplace door or screen will offer enough protection to prevent sparks from reaching the fireplace. A second barrier should be installed far enough from the doors to keep bricks and sparks out of reach. Segmented baby gates are effective but must be secured to prevent them from collapsing or falling.

“The built-in glass doors are one of the biggest culprits in fireplaces,” Dr. Christina Johns (Senior Medical Advisor at PM Pediatrics) says. They are often touched by children. Although parents might believe that the doors protect from burns, they can get extremely hot very quickly. Children’s Hospital Colorado says that the glass barrier on a gas fireplace door can reach temperatures of more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit in just 6 minutes. After a fire has been put out, the glass of a gas fireplace takes on average 45 minutes to cool down to safe temperatures.

Dr. Johns warns parents that children can’t access fire-pits if they are too close to the barrier. She says that if you put a shovel or a poker in the fireplace, they get extremely hot and then stay hot for a long time because the metal conducts heat. People hang them up and walk away, thinking it’s nothing. Their kid is curious about the item that their mom or dad used, so they grab it and burn it.

Baby Proof Fireplace Hearths Against Non-Burn Hazards

Even before the firewood is lit, small children can be exposed to it. Johns has seen children who needed more than a pair of tweezers for splinter injuries they sustained while playing with firewood. She says, “We treat wounds that need incisions to remove them. That results in significant drainage.” I don’t recommend that people store their wood in a place where they can see it. If they have ambulatory toddlers or roving toddlers, I don’t encourage them to burn their wood. Keep it close by so that they don’t fall on the logs.

Brick edges around the hearth can also pose a problem. They are more susceptible to mobile babies’ constant falling than flooring or carpeted. A hearthpad is worth the investment if the barrier that you use to keep your baby from the fireplace does not extend beyond your hard stone surfaces.

While all these precautions are designed to make fireplaces safer for small children, Baby proof can also be used to keep adults safe. While you might be more alert than your toddler about your surroundings, accidents can still happen. Hot surfaces can still cause severe burns to your skin. Fireplaces can be dangerous for many reasons. However, the right safety precautions can reduce the risk without compromising the aesthetics or function of the fireplace.