Fireplaces can be comfy during the frosty winters. But with babies running around the home, the same cozy fireplace could become dangerous. This is why many households choose to baby-proof their fireplace in case any accidents occur. Read on to know about how you can effectively baby-proof a fireplace.
What you would need
Before you get down to baby-proofing the fireplace, you might want to gather all the things you might need for its installation. You would need to run to your nearest hardware store to collect some of the things listed below.
- Safety Gate: Baby Gate or safety gate is a dedicated fence whose sole purpose is to keep the baby out of areas. People also use this gate to keep their notorious pets away from the fire. So, it essentially has a two-fold advantage. While you can find bountiful iron gates online, most people prefer to opt for steel gates as they are relatively affordable and easy-to-install. You can purchase the gate online or from your local retail store.
- Gate Lock: For a safety gate, you would also need a gate lock, so your baby doesn’t crawl its way inside the area of the fireplace. You could also get yourself a chain and a lock for extra protection.
- Hearth Protection: The hearth of the fireplace could prove to be detrimental due to it being the hotspot of all the heat the fire emits. You need to ensure that this particular place is well-cushioned, so even if your baby stumbles its way on the hearth, the writhing heat does not cause discomfort or agony to the little one.
- Carbon Monoxide Detector: This detector would ensure that you’re alerted if the poisonous carbon monoxide gas is in the air. You could then take adequate measures, so your child is not affected by it. (1)
How to baby-Proof the fireplace?
Now comes the real task; baby proofing the fireplace. You’ve got the equipment, you’ve got the tools, now let’s get down to business!
1. Install the safety gate around the fireplace:
A safety gate is the pre-requisite for ensuring that the writhing heat of the fireplace does not touch or affect your baby in any way. For this, you might want to buy the best safety gate out there and fix it around the fireplace. Gauge the space you wish to keep between the gate and the fireplace. The more, the better, but you would also need to consider the size of the room.
Following the size of the room, you could install the gate at a proportionate distance from the fireplace. The distance should be enough that your child does not feel the uncomfortable heat of the fire but experiences the warmth enough to not feel cold either. Moreover, the distance should be enough that the infant does not inhale the fumes of carbon monoxide. Therefore, be extra careful while computing the distance. You can use a steel gate for this purpose because of its effectiveness and affordability.
2. Lay out the hearth protection:
The hearth protection can come in various forms, depending upon your hearth as well. While the more comprehensive ones, which include extravagant cushioning, could be expensive, you could go for cheaper protections, such as padded seat cushions too. It all boils down to whether your baby is protected from the uncomfortable heat of the fire or not.
The hearth protection needs to be laid right in front of the fireplace and behind the gate. This ensures that even if your baby breaks through the first line of defense, it is still protected from the fire. This could happen if you unlocked the gate to stir the firewood or to ignite the fire but forgot to lock it again. Make sure that the protection is made of good quality material and is also durable. If not cushioning, you could also move a piece of furniture over the hearth to block the entry of the infant. Just make sure that the furniture is heat-resistant.
3. Install the Carbon Monoxide detector:
Carbon Monoxide detectors are quick and the most efficient way of preventing gas poisoning. People not only use this detector to baby-proof their homes but also to know if there is a gas leak inside the house.
The detector alerts you when the fire has begun to emit the poisonous gas, which is both colorless and odorless, making it impossible for you to detect had you been left to your own devices. As soon as the sensors pick something up, they would begin to beep loudly, enough to warn you about the hazardous gas. The detector needs to be installed in a place where the alerts would be audible in all corners.
Additional Tips for Baby-Proofing the Fireplace
1. Test before buying:
Fireplace gates can do more harm than good if they are not effective enough. If the gates are easy to break-in, you might think that your baby is safe and be lulled into a false sense of security. It’s only responsible that before you buy the gate, you test its efficacy from all angles. If you’ve ordered it online, do some experiments and if the gate fails, request an immediate return.
2. Baby-proof the gate doors:
It’s likely that once your baby notices the gate in front of the fireplace, it might become curious about what’s behind it. Their child-instincts could even push them to shake the doors till they become loose. Thus, you could consider buying an additional chain and lock, which be impossible to break from rigorous shaking. This lock should be separate from the lock that will come with the gate itself. The built-in locks can often be ineffective when it comes to protecting itself from tireless shaking. You can never be too careful when it comes to kids. (2)
Baby-proofing is the foremost way of safeguarding your baby from fire hazards. It may seem a tedious task, but a highly vital one at that as babies are susceptible to the heat and fumes of the fireplace.
(1) poisonous carbon monoxide gas – https://www.healthline.com/health/carbon-monoxide-poisoning
(2) child-instincts – https://www.psychologydiscussion.net/psychology/instincts/instinct-in-children-14-types-psychology/13417