Did you know that carbon monoxide affects children differently? Children breathe faster than adults, so they consume more CO quicker than adults. You may be wondering what this has to do with childproofing a fireplace.
All fireplaces (except electric models) create carbon monoxide. Given the substance’s danger, you want a way to keep your child safe from CO inhalation.
But protecting your child from CO poisoning is only one aspect of fireplace safety. Children are adventurous, and it’s not going to be easy to keep them away from a warm, cheery fireplace during the winter months.
Instead of struggling to keep your kids away from the fireplace, we’ve listed five ways below to create a safe fireplace. Keep reading if you’d like to know how to make your fireplace childproof.
1. Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector
You need a carbon monoxide detector if you’ve got a gas, wood, or pellet-burning fireplace. The second biggest problem with carbon monoxide (aside from its deadliness) is it’s odorless and colorless.
Without a detector detecting the gas, you cannot sense carbon monoxide. You should place sensors in every room of your residence in case the gas flows throughout the house.
A detector should definitely be in the room with your fireplace. Once the sensors detect CO in your home, they’ll notify you so you can vacate the premises.
Do not stop to remove anything from your home once a leak is detected. Gather your family and leave immediately. Once outside, call 911 for treatment.
2. Get a Childproof Fireplace Screen
A fireplace screen sits in front of or inside the open fireplace as a barrier between you and the fireplace. The screen sits on top of the hearth (the part of fireplaces that jut into the room) and is ordinarily removable.
A childproof fireplace cover serves the same function, except these can attach and buckle to the fireplace. Fireplace screens prevent embers from spewing into the room and keep children and pets out of the fireplace.
Even an unused fireplace can injure children and pets. You can keep the childproof fireplace cover on the fireplace throughout the year to prevent accidents.
3. Keep Your Fireplace Clean
Technically, you should clean your fireplace after every use if you want to keep it working as effectively as possible. But, every month is more than good enough to ensure you’ve got a childproof fireplace.
Why Should You Clean Your Fireplace?
One reason to clean your fireplace is to prevent fires from breaking out. Soot and creosote are flammable substances. Creosote is a material that comes from burning wood inside a fireplace and may ignite if not removed.
Another way to fireproof a fireplace is to ensure plenty of ventilation. The fireplace flue must be open and release toxic gases (like carbon monoxide), so it doesn’t accumulate inside your home.
Creosote, soot, and small animals like rodents and birds may clog chimnies, preventing CO from venting away. Hiring a professional cleaning service will help keep your chimney safe and well-ventilated.
A clean fireplace is integral to fireplace safety and helps it work more efficiently. The more creosote and soot that builds up in your fireplace, the less effectively it works. It takes a dirty fireplace longer to warm and burn.
Cleaning your fireplace is an effective childproofing method because it allows you to spot problems before they get out of hand. It’s harder to spot defects and other issues inside the unit.
A fireplace’s heat may also degrade the floo liner, smoke shelf, and damper inside the chimney. The more soot and creosote accumulate on these parts, the more they break down over time.
4. Use Your Fireplace As Intended
One way to ensure you have a safe fireplace is to use your fireplace as intended. Many people use their fireplaces as impromptu photo stands or substitute ovens.
Too many photos on the wall of your fireplace could catch fire and spread. Attempting to cook inside a fireplace is highly unsafe because they are not ergonomically designed for this task.
Call a repair technician if your stove, oven, or other cooking appliances are damaged or broken. Not only could a young child assume fireplaces are for these purposes, but these misuses could result in fires breaking out.
5. Teach Your Children Fireplace Safety Rules
One of the best ways to create a childproof fireplace is to ensure your kids understand the potential dangers. A lockable childproof fireplace ensures kids can’t break in, but they can leave something flammable on the hearth.
Information is perhaps your best weapon to make your fireplace fireproof. Tell your kids the purpose of the fireplace and how not to use the unit.
Let your child know they should not touch the unit or go near the fireplace. Instruct your kids on what carbon monoxide detectors do and to leave the house when they hear the alarm.
Ensure they know to call 911 for an emergency (for treatment after CO exposure or in case of a fire). It’s a good idea to review the fireplace safety rules with your children frequently.
Want to Learn to Childproof a Fireplace?
The five above suggestions are an excellent place to start if you want to learn how to childproof a fireplace. Making a fireplace childproof involves teaching kids fireplace safety and preventative measures.
If you don’t have a fireplace and would like to have one installed, contact us at Dreifuss Fireplaces. We have traditional and modern fireplace styles with almost a century of sales and installation experience.