On a cool night, there’s nothing more relaxing than curling up on the couch in front of a fireplace. While adults recognize the dangers of fire, children and pets often don’t. That is why it’s essential to take precautions to keep them safe.
Tips to Prevent Burns and Accidents
Sparks and hot embers can fly out of a fireplace and burn anyone nearby. In addition, kids and pets are curious and may be tempted to stick a head, hand or paw too close to a fireplace, which could cause their hair, fur or clothing to catch fire. Glass doors can keep sparks and embers inside the fireplace and keep kids and animals out.
Fire-resistant glass doors can still get hot enough to burn a child or a pet. Putting a screen in front of the fireplace can keep anyone from touching hot glass. You can choose from a wide range of screen styles.
When thinking about fireplace safety, people often focus on the dangers of fire and neglect to consider other hazards. A hearth is a hard, raised surface that can cause injuries if a child should fall. Hearth padding, or fire-resistant foam that can be attached to a hearth, can prevent injuries. You can choose from a range of sizes. Keep the area around the hearth free of flammable objects. Don’t put decorations that kids or pets might want to play with on the mantle.
The tools that you use to poke and move logs can seem like fun toys to children. Matches and lighters can be extremely dangerous in the hands of children and starter chips can be harmful if pets consume them. Keep tools and materials used to start a fire where your kids and pets can’t get to them.
Whether you have kids and pets or not, get your fireplace inspected and cleaned before you use it. Soot can accumulate and birds and wild animals often build nests in fireplaces. Both are serious fire hazards. Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher, smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector.
Talk to your kids about fire safety as soon as they’re old enough. Use age-appropriate terms to explain the potential danger and reiterate important points often. Set clear rules that your kids can understand. Supervise children and pets to make sure they don’t play near the fireplace.
Never leave a child or pet alone in a room where a fire is burning. It only takes a second for a tragic accident to occur. Depending on the layout of your home, you might be able to use child gates to keep your kids and pets away from the fireplace.
Help Your Family Enjoy a Fireplace Safely
A fireplace can be cozy, as well as dangerous. Since children and pets don’t appreciate the danger, you need to take steps to keep them safe. The more layers of protection there are, the better.