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How to Child-Proof Your Fireplace

Your fireplace can be a source of entertainment for family & friends, make your guests feel more at home, or spice up an intimate night indoors. If you have children, however, the most important thing is to first make sure your fireplace is as safe as possible. Your hearth may have sharp edges, the fire is hot, and various fireplace tools can be accidents waiting to happen. Following the steps outlined on this page can help lower the risk for an accident.

There are lots of ways to help protect your curious little ones so that, when at home, you can enjoy your fireplace, and when away, have peace of mind. Let's start with the basics:

  • Make sure that the fireplace matches and gas jet key are out of reach.
  • Check to make sure that your fireplace screen and tools cannot be pulled over.

Your child should not be able to access the barrior around your fireplace. You should guard the fireplace with something that will be cool to your child's touch, should he or she get too close. Some options we recommend include:

  • Install a heat-resistant guard
  • Install glass doors

Glass doors are a great, aesthetically pleasing way to create a barrier between your child and the fire, but if your children are anything like mine, simple doors may not be enough. If necessary, you can secure the doors with a lock or latch to make sure they don't get opened when you're not around. We've discussed some ways to prevent your child from getting to the fire or touching any hot surfaces, but what about the hearth? Hard, solid edges can be a very dangerous thing, but there are many ways to lower the risk of an accident.

  • Surround your fireplace with a gate

There are many options available when choosing a gate, and chances are you will be able to find one that fits the style of your room, doesn't distract from the fireplace, and, most importantly, protects your child. Gates are a very popular option for families with infants because they can not only protect children/pets from the fire, but also from the fireplace tools and hearth.

If installing a gate doesn't appeal to you, there are a few other options to choose from that can help make your hearth safer.

  • Consider purchasing a hearth cusion or adhesive padding

A hearth cusion is an easily installable, easily removable solution to make your hearth and fireplace area less dangerous for your children. Best of all, it's cheap! Another great, cheap solution to help child-proof your fireplace is a mesh covering.

  • If you have a mesh covering, secure it to the brick with screws and anchors to make sure it stays shut

Although we've covered many points in this guide to make your fireplace safer, your configuration is unique. Even after you have followed all of the previously outlined steps, if not given the proper consideration, your fireplace may still be a safety hazard. Take a look at your fireplace through a child's eyes and exercise the necessary precautions to make it safe. Once you've put in the time and effort it takes to baby-proof your mantel, it's time to relax. Kick back, get comfy, and enjoy the wonderful ambiance your fireplace creates!

This article was written by Harold Wagner, Certified Fireplace Installer/FireplacesNow.com Sales Manager. It is the property of FireplacesNow.com may not be replicated anywhere else.