As your toddler begins finding their feet and exploring the home they live in, the time to baby proof comes, and cupboards, drawers, stairwells, and electrical outlets are all potentially hazardous obstacles that you need to make safe and secure.
But, when winter begins creeping in and you look to start warming your house up a bit more, you might find that you’ve forgotten to baby proof your fireplace!
Babyproofing your fireplace is an incredibly important thing to do. First of all, they get really hot, and inquisitive fingers could easily get burnt on the surrounding metal grates. The power source it uses to generate heat is another potential hazard and could make your fireplace a danger even when it’s not in use.
So what’s the best way to baby proof your fireplace? And how can you do it without completely ruining the aesthetics of your living room? Don’t panic! We’ve put together a simple guide to babyproofing your fireplace and keeping your little one safe and secure, whilst still allowing you to provide heat for your home and family.
The first thing you need to do when you begin babyproofing your fireplace is to put yourself in the mindset of a toddler. You’d be surprised at what you can see when you get down to your child’s height and look at your fireplace, and you might spot potential hazards that you never even knew existed.
Get down on your hands and knees and have a good feel around your fireplace. Are there any sharp nails sticking out? Any sharp edges that need to be covered? You can even go as far as playing with the doors to identify any pinch-hazards.
Tiny fingers have an uncanny ability to get themselves into spaces that you never imagined possible. And, whilst it’s quite unlikely that your toddler will be able to outwit your babyproofing skills, it’s not entirely impossible.
Once you’ve fully identified all the risks, the next thing you to do is completely restrict access to your fireplace. After all, the further away your child is kept from crawling or stumbling into your fireplace, the less risk there is of then getting injured.
There are a couple of choices here. A lot of parents completely close the room off altogether by closing the door, which is a good thing to do if you are busy elsewhere in the house and aren’t able to keep a watchful eye on your child. This doesn’t completely solve the problem though, as the fireplace is still going to be open when you’re back in the room.
Another option is the restrict access to the fireplace using a baby gate. These are usually constructed from a lightweight metal, such as aluminum, and wrap all the way around the front of the fireplace to completely enclose it.
This method isn’t without risk either though, as the metal will heat up when the fire is in use, and a quick grip on the bars could lead to burnt fingers. It will, however, restrict access to the fireplace and surrounding hearth when it’s not in use.
There’s no denying that using a baby gate is probably the most effective method of babyproofing a fireplace. But which design should you go for? There are loads of different styles available, but we’ve broken them down into three of the best for using around a fireplace.
This consists of a series of interlinking gates that can be used to create a complete surrounding barrier around a fireplace. The clever interlocking-panel system means that you can create the perfect guard to fit around the design of your fireplace and personalize it to your individual needs. You can also use it in the summer months to create a secure playpen for your child to have fun in, giving you even more value for money.
This type of gate is designed to run from one end of the room to the other, completely sealing off access to a designated area prevents any curious child from getting anywhere near the fireplace. This style of baby gate is also really easy to set up, so it makes an ideal choice for anybody that isn’t 100% confident in their installation or assembly skills.
If you would prefer to completely seal off access to a room with a fireplace in it, then you might want to opt for a tall doorway gate. As the name suggests, it is installed inside of the door’s frame and restricts anybody from entering the room. It’s height also makes it a good choice for preventing even the most agile toddler from climbing over the top of it.
Babyproofing the actual fireplace itself is just one half of the battle. You also need to think about the surrounding hearth, which could have sharp edges, or could be made from hard tiles or stone.
Little legs that are just learning to walk are susceptible to falling down a lot, and a tumble onto a hard-surfaced hearth could result in serious injury. Try installing some self-adhesive padding to the edges of your hearth, and soften the edges with specially designed corner pads as well.
If your hearth is a flat surface that’s built directly onto the ground, then choose a nice, cushioned rug to slide over the top of it to soften the area out a bit more. As with babyproofing the fireplace, a baby gate that wraps around the entire fireplace will also prevent any accidents from occurring on the hearth.
There are a few options available to you when you start thinking about babyproofing your fireplace, but the choice you go for will be unique to your home setup and the needs of your family. The most important thing is to get ahead of the game and start babyproofing your fireplace and any other potential hazards in your home before then need arises.