Everything about a fireplace can attract someone to it: the warmth, the color, the lighting, and the smell. However, one step too close can be danger, especially for those who are not familiar with fireplace dangers.
Like most things a fireplace will require you to take some extra precautions and measures with your kids around. If you have a fireplace whether it is in use or not, it is important to always supervise young children around it and to inform older children about potential hazards.
It is always better to be safe than sorry. With that being said, do not let your family get burned or seriously injured. There are plenty of tips available that you can follow to protect your home and, more importantly, your children.
Fireplace Safety Tips for Those with Children:
- First and foremost, never allow children to be alone and unsupervised near a fireplace, especially with a fire lit or even if the fire has recently been put out. Keeping your eyes on your children at all times is the easiest way you can prevent an accident or injury from occurring.
- Communicate with your kids as early and as often as possible. This means explaining concerns and safety measures they are to follow and even simple ideas like fireplace anatomy or instructions they can adhere to and understand.
- Do not poke, prod, or provoke a lit fire with children nearby. Ashes, embers, and sparks are known to fly, and you do not want any of them reaching your child.
- Make sure nothing—toys, bottles, pillows, etc.—is placed on or around the fireplace unless it has not been lit or it is completely cold. Make sure all flammable items are at least two feet or more away from your fireplace.
- Be sure you have the proper equipment for your fireplace. This includes caging, door guards, and protectors to put a line of defense between you and the open flame. If you have a glass door, watch your child especially close, as they have been known to cause burn injuries from touching. Additionally, be sure other equipment like pokers are not left out on display and are out of the reach of children. There are also certain lighters, locks, and switches that can be installed in your fireplace to further child proof it.
- Keep matches, lighters, and accelerants out of the reach of children. If your fireplace is activated by a remote, be sure this is also kept out of reach of children, too.
- Be a good example. Do not act haphazardly around a fire or fireplace or practice unsafe techniques. You should not do this anyway even if you know you will not be harmed but keep in mind children love to mimic what they see.
- Keep your fireplace clean, maintained, and up-to-date. And burn only what is meant to be burned. These preventative measures will keep your home and family safe by keeping your fireplace in working order and can prevent things like smoke inhalation or creosote or toxin buildup.
- During Christmas time do not put your tree near your fireplace, whether you have children or not. This will also keep presents and paper further from your fireplace, thus keeping your kids farther away.
- Do not go to sleep or leave your home unless your fire is completely put out, embers and all.
- Consider installing some flame-resistant padding for your fireplace hearth, as they are usually hard and rigid with sharp corners. Padding or guards can save you a boo-boo or two in the form of a cushion to protect your child.
- Have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and running properly. These can save your life and the lives of those your love from fireplace mishaps.
Resources: Nayaug Chimney Services, Northeastern Chimney, Ashbusters
Wells & Sons Chimney Service offers a full-range of chimney services including chimney cleaning and chimney repair. They also sell and install wood and gas stoves. The Wells service area extends across Lansdale, Boyertown, Pottstown, Gilbertsville, Norristown, and surrounding Pennsylvania areas.