The first step to baby proof a fireplace is to get inside your baby’s head and think like them.
Those sweet creatures are so creative that they can bypass our definition of “safe” and still find themselves around the fire.
Baby proofing your fireplace is important because fireplaces are very hazardous to young ones yet essential to the home.
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So, how do you keep your fireplace functioning and looking its best, while your young one is finding fun in some other part of the living room? Let’s find that out.
How to baby proof your fireplace
It is important to keep your child from the fire, but that’s not all. The hearth and doors must also be well protected.
All the sections of the fireplace must be baby proofed separately.
So, how do you know where to baby proof?
- See it from their angle
Like I said earlier, the best way to successfully baby proof your fireplace is by getting into your child’s head first.
Find out the places that could seem more fun to them and go there.
They will likely want to play with the hearth. Feel it to ensure that there are no sharp or rough edges that could cause injuries. Get to know the fireplace from the eyes of your baby.
- List out all the dangerous areas
The potential hazards you find around your fireplace will help you know what to do to fix them. You may not need to search for standard methods of fixing those hazards.
There are some perfect DIYs you can do with the leftover items you used in baby proofing the other parts of the house. This can save you a few bucks.
- Restrict access
Baby gates are beneficial for restricting access to your fireplace. The baby cannot get to the fireplace when the gate is shut.
Some parents think it is okay to keep the door to the living room shut, but this is not realistic. You could forget to close it tightly, and the baby gets right in.
However, the way you choose to keep your baby from the fireplace is entirely left for you. Just ensure that it is effective and doesn’t give room to the child.
There are some great baby gates available, and I will discuss that soon.
- Fix the remaining threats
Most times, the majority of the threats get fixed when the baby gate is installed. However, it could be different in your home.
Pick up the list of hazards you made and see how many dangers have been covered by the gate. If you have something else left, find a way to fix it.
Read on to discover how to handle every fireplace hazard.
Baby proofing tips for fireplace doors
Fireplace doors; if they don’t inflict a cut or bruise, it is a burn. They have never dealt fairly with children and so must be baby proofed.
These steps will help your baby proof your fireplace.
- Test the door
Though you may never be able to spot all the things that could cause an injury to toddlers, at least you can try.
Shake the fireplace door and run your hands through them. If you feel anything sharp or dangerous, note it and fix it.
- Use baby gates
Baby gates are still the best way to restrict access and protect your child from the fireplace door. This way, they won’t get close to the fire or the sharp and pinchy edges of the door.
Some parents prefer using fireplace locks, but I don’t think they are the best. They will not keep your child from being burned on the hot glass.
Ensure you close the fireplace door when in use. It will keep your kid from the door and crackling fire and also reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Frequently check the temperature
Would you like to allow access when the fireplace is not in use? If yes, check the temperature of the fireplace after use and only allow access when the door and fireplace are cold enough for the baby’s skin.
Ways to baby proof your fireplace hearth
A hearth is a significant place where children get injured, and most of the time, it causes more injury than the fire itself.
Even if your hearth is mainly for decoration, there will always be something hazardous to the child.
Unsteady toddlers can easily fall and sustain cuts and bruises from the edges of the brick.
If your fireplace does not need a gate to baby proof, you should consider doing something to your hearth to make it more tolerable for your younger one.
There are different ways of baby proofing a hearth, but the most suitable ones depend on your type of hearth.
Most people use the stepped hearth, and they are even more dangerous to unsteady toddlers. However, there are some creative ways to help you baby proof your hearth without sacrificing the style.
- Interlocking foam mat
Interlocking foam pads are a great way to baby proof your fireplace hearth.
There are many beautifully designed mats you can use to keep the hearth, but you may consider avoiding the one designed with alphabets, except you want your living room to look like a nursery.
There are some beautiful ones with more sophisticated designs. You can choose the variation that is more suitable for your living room.
Keep this mat in place with durable, double-sided tape. You can easily lift this mat when you want to clean or remove it when you want your fireplace back.
- Benched cushion
This is a beautiful and straightforward way of transforming your hearth into a lovely reading corner.
Set up a decorative bench with a few pillows and give yourself a treat. However, this style is most suitable when you do not want to use your fireplace.
Some fireplace hearths are flat or a little raised from the floor. These hearths will have sharp edges that will leave bumps on your baby’s face.
Use Roving Cove’s safety edge and corner cushion to keep the edges soft. They come in white, black and brown, and it comes with eighteen feet high-density cushion and 8 right corner pieces.
To use it, measure out the size you need and tape around your hearth edges. Use the right corners to give it a neater look.
Baby proof a three-sided fireplace
If you have a peninsula fireplace, you will realize that it is much harder to baby proof than the usual fireplace. If you are wondering what a peninsula fireplace is, it is a fixture that has three sides and usually extends further to the other room.
There are only a few options for baby proofing this fireplace, and one of them is with a baby gate. If yours is very large, go for baby gates with extensions for maximum coverage.
Also, you can make the fireplace safer by using the ideas for baby proofing a hearth and fireplace door.
Baby gates to baby proof fireplace
Baby gates have become a necessity for the 21st century home. I was pretty fascinated by the fireplace when I was young.
The fire felt more like a mystery to me, and I felt like going closer a bit and throwing in some of my toys to see what happened. Of course, mother’s watchful eyes were always there to hinder.
Gates are very necessary to keep your kid safe, especially when they are young toddlers. Even older kids that understand the danger of fire can still fall and get hurt around there. You seriously need to get them out.
The U.S. Fire Administration says that children should be kept at least three feet from the fireplace and everything that can become hot. So, it is important to use a gate to create that amount of space or more for you.
When buying a baby gate, ensure that it has easy-to-open doors for adults. This is so that you can easily tend to the fire. Also, ensure that it will mount adequately to the wall so that your little one will not knock it over.
Here are some gates that can give you those specifications
This baby gate offers you the flexibility of use. You can mount this gate around your fireplace as a hard mount or configure it as a free-standing play yard or little play-pen like enclosure.
It offers the auto-locking option and is long enough to cover your entire fireplace.
This gate is 192 inches long and has eight panels that you can add up or remove to create enough space and configure the shape of your fireplaces.
It offers a great storage option and folds easily when it is not in use. It is also easily adjustable and makes it easy to move around.
This gate is ideal for parents that are on a budget.
You will appreciate the great length of this gate if you have an extensive and open home. Without this option, this kind of home will be challenging to baby proof.
However, a reviewer said it is challenging to find an individual panel if you need an extension. They also stated that this gate is not ideal for hardwood floors.
This can be a good fit for you if you would prefer to keep your infant out of the living room instead of baby proofing the fireplace.
It will be most suitable if you are willing to go for something without much fancy.
The beige gate by Summer Infant is one of the best gates for this purpose.
If you are worried about how sturdy the gate will be against the wall, use a wall protector. They usually fit in with most baby gates, but you will want to check the product information to ensure that it fits yours.
How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
One of the risks of using a fireplace is that of carbon monoxide poisoning. This challenge is the same for those that power the fireplace with wood or gas.
Carbon monoxide is a hazardous gas and can lead to death in severe cases. However, it is more detrimental to children than a cut, scrape, or bruise.
But sadly, it is one of the most neglected aspects of baby proofing a fireplace. So how can you baby proof your fireplace against carbon monoxide?
- Deal with the vents
Poor ventilation in the home increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Clean up the vent or get a chimney cleaner to do an in-depth cleaning if it has been a while.
The chimney can be blocked by weather drainage or dirt, and this makes it more dangerous.
- Clear the fireplace vents and other blockages
You need to clean the fireplace vent and sweep the chimney. You can request help if you can not do this alone.
Also, check around your fireplace for anything that can cause ignition outside the designated area. It is more common for DIY hearths. If this is what you have in your home, do not use the fireplace.
- Use carbon monoxide detector
Carbon monoxide does not have color or odor and can be very difficult to detect without a detector. Every home needs one.
It works like a fire alarm and will immediately notify you in case of a carbon monoxide release.
Carbon monoxide detectors are cheap to obtain and do not require high maintenance. You can get a good battery-operated one by Kidde.
- Run regular checks and maintenance
Doing this may seem tedious, but you need to frequently run checks and maintenance on your fireplace and carbon monoxide detector.
This proactivity will keep you and your family from the slightest fire incidences.
Safety is indispensable when babies are involved, and it is even more important when they are around the fire. That is why we must baby proof the fireplace.
Never assume your home is safe when you have not baby proofed your fireplace. Baby gates work perfectly for this purpose, and baby proofing the hearth and doors will go a long way in preventing bruises and burns.