It goes without saying that children face the greatest risk from fireplaces. Blown embers can burn them, and young ones can endanger themselves by getting too close or touching the fireplace. Teaching them about fireplace safety is easy, and you can take your pick of products aimed at keeping this area safe. Of course, nothing beats proper supervision, so none of the suggestions below are supposed to replace that. Rather, a combination of supervision, safety tips and products is the best way to go.
Fireplace Safety Tips
As soon as your child is old enough to understand you, make it clear that this is a spot to keep away from. Reinforcement will be important for very young or stubborn children. Rewards for moving away when told to can work well for some children.
If your fireplace has a glass front, do not allow children to think that it is safe to touch when the fire goes out. The glass will remain hot for a while, so there is still the chance of getting burned. A hearth gate can be an effective barrier, but you should explain to the child what it is, to avoid curiosity getting the better of them. Choose your hearth gate wisely. You need one that is sturdy enough so that it will not topple easily.
This is an important aspect of fireplace safety. Furniture needs to be close enough to allow you to feel the warmth. A perpendicular arrangement in relation to the fireplace is usually a good idea. A distance of three feet between the fireplace and the furniture is usually recommended. Position the furniture so that children will still have enough room to play. This will serve as a reminder that while they can see the fireplace and feel the warmth, they should keep away from it.
Every parent knows that a child should not be left alone in a room with a fire going. Tell your child that he or she should not go into that area alone, and be sure to explain why. If the child moves closer to the fireplace without realizing, a quick warning or reminder should be enough.
You should also discourage your child from treating fireplace accessories like the poker and shovel as toys. Even when the fireplace is not in use, these items can cause injury if mishandled.
We perform all types of chimney inspections, cleanings, and minor repairs here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service. Our Chimney Sweeps are CSIA Certified and participate in continued education programs throughout the year. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to discuss any chimney problems you may be experiencing or to schedule an appointment for a consultation, inspection, or cleaning.