Top 5 Ways to Child & Pet Proof Your Fireplace
By taking these precautions you can continue to enjoy your fireplace while protecting your furry friends and little ones from potential harm. At Burlington Fireplace & Heating we carry a wide range of fireplace accessories to help make your fireplace baby proof and pet friendly.
Our staff would be happy to give you suggestions and answer your questions. Remember that it is still important to keep a watchful eye on your little ones when a fire is burning. When we aren’t watching, children and animals can still find clever ways to foil our best attempts to protect them. The curiosity of children and pets can get them into trouble around a fireplace. The beautiful dance of flames might entice an inquisitive baby to burn her hand in the fire or attract a beloved pet close enough to get singed fur. Even when a fireplace is not in use, the sharp fireplace tools and harsh edges of the hearth could harm your little loved ones.
Here are five ways to make your fireplace pet friendly and child-proof.
1. Soften the Hearth
For many parents, the first step in child-proofing a fireplace is addressing the hearth. It is especially important to baby proof a hearth if you have little one who is just learning to walk and still incredibly unstable on his/her feet. A slip or spill against the hard stone or brick surface of a hearth could injure a child. A simple solution is to soften the edges of the fireplace with hearth padding. Hearth padding is easy-to-install rubber edging that you can adhere to the sharp corners of the hearth. You can also add a hearth cushion to the top of the hearth for added protection.
2. Install Fireplace Doors
Though fireplace doors can become very hot, they are still a smart safety feature if you have children or pets. Fireplace doors prevent children and pets from reaching into the fireplace to touch the flames and protect them from the hot ashes and sparks that can escape an open fireplace. They also shield them from breathing in harmful substances when the fire is out by making it more difficult for them to play in the fireplace. You can find a selection of fireplace doors in a variety of styles and sizes at our local hearth and home store.
3. Setup a Fireplace Screen or Gate
You can use either a fireplace screen or a fireplace gate to prevent your child or pet from being burned by the hot glass of fireplace doors. A fireplace screen is freestanding and blocks off the area directly in front of the fireplace. Many homeowners choose to use it because it is an attractive safety feature that doesn’t take up much extra room. For families with very small children or rowdy animals a fireplace gate may be more ideal because it entirely encloses the fireplace and it is usually secured to the wall on both sides so that it cannot be easily knocked down by a toppling toddler or inquisitive pet.
4. Store Fireplace Tools Out of Reach
A clumsy pet or toddler could get hurt by the heavy iron toolsets that are usually displayed beside the fireplace. In the hands of older children, fireplace tools can easily become weapons. A lighthearted duel between young friends could end with a search for your first aid kit or a trip to the emergency room. For these reasons, it is best to store the shovels, pokers, brooms and other fireplace tools that are usually kept close to the hearth out of reach either behind the fireplace gate or in another secure location.
5. Invest in a Carbon Monoxide Detector & Maintain Your Fireplace
Children are especially susceptible to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning since they have higher metabolic rates and their tissue requires more oxygen. If you enjoy using your fireplace during Wisconsin’s chilly winter months, it is essential that you invest in a functioning carbon monoxide detector and have your fireplace annually cleaned by a professional chimney sweep to protect your children from being exposed to dangerous levels of CO.
In many cases, CO exposure is the result of damaged or improperly used fuel-burning appliances which includes wood and gas fireplaces. An obstructed or damaged chimney, closed damper or reverse draft could result in the accumulation of CO in your home without your knowledge. Having your chimney cleaned annually can help to prevent against obstructions and make you aware of damage that needs to be repaired. A functioning CO detector is your last defense against carbon monoxide poisoning.