Common Fireplace Hazards: How You Can Protect Your Child

Every parent in the world understands how challenging it is to keep a toddler safe from harm. Things we never imagined could be hazardous before we had kids now bring up instant images of scrapes, bruises, and broken bones.

We do everything in our power to protect our children from everyday accidents around the home. In addition to stairs, bathtubs, and doorways, the fireplace is one of the most dangerous spots in the home.

Many children are injured in fireplace accidents that could easily be prevented with some simple baby proofing. Keep reading to learn more about fireplace hazards and how you can protect your children. 

Fireplace Hazards

A fireplace poses many risks to babies and toddlers. The fascinating glow of a fire can be quite enticing to tiny exploring hands. Although burns are the most common fireplace injury, there are other hazards associated with this beautiful home accessory. 


Most burn-related injuries in children under five years old are caused by open flames, in areas such as fireplaces and fire pits. Children can also be burned by the very hot temperature of a glass fireplace door.

Burns are one of the leading causes of accidental injury, and nearly 75% of these burns are preventable. Young children are even more susceptible to serious burns, since their delicate skin burns more quickly and at a lower temperature than adult skin. 

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a life-threatening hazard. Carbon monoxide cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted, so it is incredibly difficult to detect unsafe levels.

Fireplaces with blocked vents or exhausts are extremely dangerous for everyone in the home. Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, headache, fainting, vomiting, and confusion. 

Hearth Injuries

Fireplaces require a hearth to protect the floors from being burned by hot embers. A hearth can be flat or raised, and most are made from stone or brick.

These extremely hard materials pose a serious risk to young children who may trip and fall into them. Scrapes, bruises, concussions, and serious cuts can occur due to an accidental run-in with a fireplace hearth. 

Baby Proof Your Fireplace

There are many ways to protect your child from potential fireplace hazards such as burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other accidental injuries. 

Invest in a Large Gate

The best way to protect your children from the fireplace is to block it off completely. Free standing fireplace screens are not helpful, as they can be easily tipped over by a child. The best gates are large enough to cover the entire area of the fireplace and anchored into the wall to provide sturdy protection. These gates usually have a small door that allows adults easy access to tend the fire.

Some great options for fireplace gates include the Super Wide Baby Gate and Play Yard and the Home Decor Super Wide Baby Gate. These gates can be easily mounted to the wall and they are excellent choices for closing off a wide open space like the fireplace. 

Install a Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Carbon monoxide is known as the "silent killer" because it is virtually impossible to detect without an alarm. Once you begin to notice the side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, it may be too late.

A carbon monoxide alarm is an excellent investment for any home. The Kidde alarm is a top-rated choice that can be installed anywhere in your home.

In addition to installing an alarm, you should perform proper fireplace maintenance to ensure that all vents and exhaust systems remain clean and clear. 

Cover That Hearth

There are several ways you can protect your baby from both flat and stepped hearths. Of course, a gate around the fireplace will keep your child away from the hearth as well, but maybe you don't want to keep the gate up during the warm summer months when the fireplace is not in use. In that case, you'll want to cover your hearth, whether it's flat or stepped. A flat hearth can be easily covered with any type of wide, flat, cushioned mat. A stepped hearth will require a foam hearth guard to soften the edges and corners, as well as a cushioned mat to cover the entire surface. 

These baby proofing tips combined with proper supervision are a fantastic way to keep your children safe around the fireplace. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our baby proofing products that will keep your home a safe and happy place. 

Next Article