Families with young children and pets know the importance of keeping these household members safe around the sizzling flames inside a fireplace. But fireplace safety for kids and pets involves more than just keeping them away from the fire.
The first step in childproofing your fireplace is to fire-proof your child. No, that doesn’t mean to dress her in asbestos. It means teaching her that the area around the fireplace is not a playground and that rambunctious behavior will not be tolerated. If she behaves calmly and appropriately when in close proximity to a fire, problems will easily be prevented.
For pets, it’s a different story. You can’t reason with a cat and explain that dancing flames are not prey that requires the animal’s attention. You can, however use some of the suggestions below to make it harder for Felix to attack the flames or even get too close to them and suffer a burn.
Tips for childproofing and pet-proofing your fireplace
Glass doors: The best way to keep kids and pets away from flames in a fireplace is to put up a barrier. Glass doors will prevent little hands or paws from reaching into the firebox. But remember: glass doors themselves become very hot when a fire is burning behind them, so they’re not an all-inclusive means of protection.
Fireplace screens: A nice decorative screen also will keep young children and animals from direct contact with fireplace flames. There’s less chance of getting burned by a screen or grate than by a glass door.
Glass doors and screens also offer another element of protection: they prevent popping embers and sparks from flying into the room and possibly injuring a person or pet sitting near the fireplace.
Hearth pads: You can by fireproof padding to cover the hearth base, which is often made of brick or cement. Young children are known to be clumsy and can fall onto a hard hearth surface or slam into sharp corners of a raised surface. Hearth padding is one more step concerned parents can take to keep their little ones safe.
Restricting tool access
Most of the time, fireplaces (particularly the wood-burning variety) have tools and ignition materials near the firebox. If you feel there’s a likelihood that your small child will use these items as toys, it’s a good idea to purchase or create some sort of storage unit to keep the tools from being accessed. Beyond that, let your older kids know that fireplace tools are not toys and to stay away from them.
These are some ideas for childproofing and pet-proofing your fireplace. The very best protection is parental oversight any time the fireplace is in operation. Parents should teach kids about fire safety from a young age to prevent potentially serious problems down the line.
If you want to know more about fireplace safety, or if you’re looking for a sturdy fireplace screen or good-looking glass doors, stop by Marsh’s Stoves & Fireplaces of Toronto. Our experts will be happy to answer questions and show you products that will perfectly meet your needs. We’re at 3322 Dundas Street West. Reach us by phone at (416) 762-4582.