8 Fireplace Safety Tips for Families With Children

fireplace safety

There are nearly 50 million children under the age of 12 in America.

If you’ve got a young child, you want to do everything you can to keep them safe – this is true of all good parents. There’s a fine line between being a caring, careful parent and being an overprotective parent.

When it comes to having a fireplace, a good parent will take fireplace safety seriously while enjoying having a fireplace in the home. An overprotective parent would never consider getting a fireplace because it could potentially put their child in danger.

There are no relevant statistics to support this view. Families with children can enjoy all of the benefits of having a cozy fireplace as long as fireplace safety is a priority. In this post, we’ll give you 8 tips to ensure your child is never in danger around your fireplace.

Installing a fireplace in your home will bring you and your child closer if you let it. Keep reading and put your mind at ease.

1. Understand Your Options

Installing a fireplace in your home is the first of many big decisions. Once you know that you want one, the next thing to do is figure out what type of fireplace to install. There are 3 choices for indoor fireplaces: wood, gas, and electric.

If you’ve got safety concerns about a wood fireplace and how your child will be impacted, a gas or electric fireplace is a good choice. With wood fireplaces, you need access to the firebox to place logs, ignite the flame, and adjust the burning logs. A child could feasibly open the fireplace and hurt themselves.

There’s less chance of this happening with a gas fireplace. With an electric fireplace, there’s no real fire, so it’s much easier to prevent your child from getting hurt. That said, so long as you educate your child and keep an eye on them, you can have whatever type of fireplace you want.

2. Become a Teacher

Educating your child on the dangers of open flames is an essential aspect of fire safety. The earlier you have this conversation, the more prepared they’ll be for fire safety as they grow up. 

The first lesson should be to stay away from the fireplace when it’s being used. If they know that they could get hurt by going near the open flame, that should be enough to keep them from approaching it. For gas and electric fireplaces, make sure they aren’t touching any of the hot components either.

3. Keep Your Fireplace Clear

To keep your child safe, you have to take fireplace safety seriously as well. The National Fire Protection Association states that you shouldn’t leave anything within 3 feet of your fireplace – pets and children included.

Kids have a way of leaving a path of clutter in their wake. If there are books or toys left near the fireplace, they pose a serious risk, not just to your child’s safety, but to your entire house. Before and after using the fireplace, make sure that there’s nothing laying around.

4. Regular Cleaning Helps

There are a couple of ways that fireplace and chimney cleaning can help you with fireplace safety. When you burn wood in your fireplace, ash and creosote (a substance applied to wood to help conserve it) are left in the firebox and chimney. 

When this builds up, it can become quite a nuisance because it turns into an uber-flammable tar. This poses a major fire risk when you use your fireplace, but it’s also bad for indoor air quality.

If you don’t want your child to breathe in these fumes, it’s important to clean your fireplace after each use. You also need to get a professional cleaning done at least once a year if you use your fireplace regularly. 

5. Get a Fireplace Screen

With wood and some gas fireplaces, it’s always a good idea to put up a fireplace screen. Having a physical barrier in place will help to prevent your child from approaching the fireplace when it’s burning.

It’ll also prevent any sparks coming out of the fire from hitting your child or flammable objects in the home. The other option is to choose a fireplace with a door or glass enclosure that your child can’t get into. If you need help designing a custom fireplace, get in touch with us ASAP.

6. Keep Tools Out of Reach

Never leave your fireplace tools laying around for your child to grab. Whether it’s a sharp metal poker or a bellow, these things are always best kept far out of reach of young kids.

This goes for any lighters, matches, or firestarters as well. You never know what could happen once a child gets hold of these things. Having them packed away when you’re not sitting in front of the fire is important.

7. Install Detectors

If you don’t have them installed in your living space where the fireplace is, you’ll need to get smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke detectors are essential for any type of fireplace, but carbon monoxide detectors are important for gas fireplaces.

If your fireplace isn’t maintained properly, you can get incomplete combustion, which releases carbon monoxide. This deadly gas is both colorless and odorless, so you won’t detect it on your own. A good carbon monoxide detector costs between $30-50 – a worthwhile purchase.

8. Buy an Extinguisher

Last, but definitely not least, you need to have a fire extinguisher near your fireplace at all times. Not only that, you need to teach your child when and how to use it.

If you take all of these tips to heart, you shouldn’t ever have to use an extinguisher. That said, freak accidents can happen, so if you’ve got a child who is able to recognize when the wrong type of fire is occurring, they need to be able to use the extinguisher.

Fireplace Safety Can Be Easy

Fireplace safety doesn’t have to be hard, so long as you communicate to your child the right and wrong things to do around an open flame. As long as you follow the tips we’ve laid out here, you can enjoy your fireplace and keep your child safe.

Are you looking to install a fireplace in your Philadelphia home? At Dreifuss Fireplaces, we’ve been installing custom fireplaces for nearly 150 years, so contact us to discuss your plans with one of our helpful staff members and we’ll help you get the fireplace you’ve always dreamed of.

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