A fireplace is a welcome addition to any home. Not only does it add to the overall beauty of the room decor, but it has other advantages as well. It provides warmth on cold winter days and nights; it also adds a cozy ambiance as well. However, like other places in the home that need to be baby proof, so does the fireplace. Not only are there the dangers when there is an active fire going on, and there will be other dangers as well. Don’t think that just because you have a screen, it is safe.
It turns out these are one of the dangers. Baby’s who are starting to crawl and lifting themselves by grabbing hold of something could view a fireplace screen as something to utilize. If the screen isn’t heavy-duty enough, it could fall onto the child leading to a horrible accident. There are sharp edges that could be around the hearth and, of course, the fireplace tools that can be sharp. So, how do you go about baby proofing your particular fireplace design where you know that your baby will be safe. Here are some tips that can help you in doing just that.
1. View Things From the Baby’s Level
This is good advice in not only baby proofing the fireplace but other areas of the home. Take the time to view the world as the baby would. Here’s how to do so where the fireplace is concerned. You get down on your hands and knees while exploring the fireplace area. Look at the various things around the fireplace such as the hearth, feel around it to see if any edges are sharp, places where a child could pinch their fingers, or do even worse harm. Remember, a child tends to see things differently than we do, and if there is a danger to be found, they somehow find it. So, taking the time to explore the fireplace at their level gives you a brand new perspective of all the hazards that can be found.
2. Make a List of All the Dangers
Once the exploration is done, take the time to make a checklist of all the hazards that were discovered. This will help you to address them all and to ensure you take care of them. You may not think that you mustn’t forget any of these safety concerns. But remember, as a new parent, you have a whole lot on your plate, and sometimes you can forget things, even those considered a hazard. SO, writing all this down as soon as possible, maybe even while going through the inspection, will help to ensure that all of the hazards are addressed.
4. Block Access to the Fireplace
Yes, you love your fireplace, but you love your baby more. So, it will be necessary to block access to the fireplace from the baby. This can be done by either restricting an active baby’s access to the living room, through either keeping them in a playpen or another room such as a den. It can also be accomplished through using a baby gate such as the ones utilized for staircases. A baby gate can be placed around the fireplace area, restricting a child’s access to it. The baby gate can also be used to keep the child out of the areas of the house where fireplaces are found. The method chosen is entirely up to the parent and what they feel gives them the most peace of mind.
5. Address Remaining Dangers
So, once the baby gate is installed, it’s time to go back to the checklist of issues. Perhaps at this point, you discover that all issues have been addressed, and mission accomplished. Unfortunately, though for some owners of fireplaces, they still have some work to do. There could be other items that may be needed as well, to ensure optimal safety. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of these that maybe you might not be aware you need or might not know to exist.
6. Soften Hearth Edges
Remember that we talked about sharp edges of the hearth; there are methods that can soften these so that could prevent injury such as to the head. One way that many new parents like is a product known as tubing guards. These go around the corners of hearths such as a wooden hearth, and add extra protection.
7. Prevent Carbon Monoxide Threat
Perhaps you don’t stop to think about this, but fireplaces give off a gas known as carbon monoxide. It turns out this type of gas isn’t just harmful or a baby’s developing lungs but can be harmful to adults as well if the levels get quite high. It can lead to something that can be fatally known as carbon monoxide poisoning. So, there are ways to ensure that the carbon monoxide levels are kept at a minimum. First of all, make sure that the fireplace has good ventilation. That would include making sure that the fireplace chimney is properly cleaned out if it is a wood-burning fireplace. The second check for any obstructions before use to ensure not too much carbon monoxide is getting in the air. Third and most important, purchase a carbon monoxide detector. This is an essential part of any home that has a fireplace, whether there is a baby or not.
8. Make One More Inspection
Once all the precautions have been made time to explore things at the baby’s level yet again. Take the time to check the gates to make sure these are properly secure. Make sure that the edges have all be covered correctly. This helps to ensure that you did address all the issues.
As stated above, each fireplace will have issues that will need to be addressed. There are different types of fireplaces, and each one will have its concerns. The best course of action is to do more research about your particular type of fireplace. The thing to keep in mind is that a baby or young child is oblivious to the dangers that surround them. It is up to us as the adults in their lives to eliminate the dangers as much as humanly possible.