So you have both a fireplace and a wobbling toddler in your home. Oh dear.
This can be a delicate combination, especially if you actually desire to ever use your fireplace. But don’t worry quite so much; here are some safety recommendations to help your family make the entire fireplace area a much safer place for the kiddo.
Fireplace Safety Gates
Here’s the thing: if you actually want to use your fireplace, you should really buy a baby gate. It is the easiest way to secure your fireplace against tiny tot invaders. It might not be what you had in mind when you picked out the room’s décor, but your child will be so much safer. And honestly, it’s such a relief to have.
Ideally, you want one that will attach securely to the walls with screws. This ensures that it won’t fall when your toddler grabs it. A free-standing gate is not safe when toddlers are toddling around; it’s very easy for them to latch on and as a result, the gate will crash down. These safety gates are usually heavy, so you don’t want it to come down on top of anyone.
You should also be sure you still have easy access to the fireplace through the gate. Preferably the gate will have a retractable or swing-out gate. Any decent gate of this type will be impossible for a toddler to open themselves, though you will need to be cautionary as they get older because they might learn by watching! In the warmer months when the fireplace is not in use, this gate can be used elsewhere in your home, near stairs or other areas.
Where to Place your Gate
For those with a wood-burning fireplace, placing your gate farther back is the best idea. This way, your children will also be protected from embers and sparks popping from the fire. And don’t forget your essential fireplace tool set, which needs to be by the fireplace but is undoubtedly dangerous for young children to be around. This is even more reason to get a fireplace gate. Otherwise, you’ll have to put your sharp fireplace tools in a closet somewhere—or perhaps a locked cabinet—and it will be a pain to access them every time.
If your home has a gas fireplace, it is okay to fix your gate much closer since there are no popping sparks. Fireplace safety gates will also protect toddlers from burns due to touching the hot glass covering the gas fireplace. This happens far more than you’d think. Over 200 children per year get third-degree burns from touching hot fireplace surfaces.
Stepped hearths are slightly riskier due to their overhanging edges. Toddlers can easily walk into the hearth and scrape their skin on the coarse and sharp edges. Here are a few options to safeguard your wobbly walker. Don’t worry!
There are commercial pads you can buy online and in stores that are very highly rated. Typically, a package will provide edge pieces and two corner pieces, as well as double-sided tape to stick to the surface of your hearth. So when your child bumps into the edge, they won’t be scraped.
An upgraded version also exists that covers the ENTIRE hearth, not just the edges. With this pad, the whole horizontal surface will be kid/scrape-proof. Not only does this protect your kid from injuries on the hearth, but it also provides some extra seating. On the downside, most of the pads that cover the entire hearth usually say not to use the fireplace.
This winter season, be sure to watch out for the safety of young children near your fireplace. With these safeguards, hopefully, you’ll have an easier time keeping your toddler safe while they adventure throughout your home!
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