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Child Safety

Fireplace safety

​​​​Many homes, restaurants, and hotels have fireplaces. While they can provide warmth and a comforting glow, they also have risks. Keeping your child safe around a fireplace is important. 

  • Any fireplace (gas, wood-burning, or electric) can be a danger to children.
  • Toddlers and young children are most at risk of being burned.
  • The glass on a gas fireplace heats up to over 200°C (400°F) in minutes and stays hot long after the fireplace is turned off.
  • It takes less than a second for the hot glass of a gas fireplace to cause a serious burn.
  • Burns caused by touching the glass on a gas fireplace can be serious enough to need surgery or cause long-term problems.
  • Hands are the most common part of the body to get burned.

Keep you child safe near fireplaces

Reduce fire hazards

  • Keep things like furniture, drapes, toys, and books at least 3 feet away from your fireplace.
  • Keep fire tools or accessories (lighters, matches, pokers) out of your child's reach.
  • Keep candles out of your child's reach. Always blow out candles before leaving a room.

Use a fireplace barrier
Barriers prevent direct contact with fire, coals, or hot glass. There are 3 types of barriers:

  1. Attachable safety screens for gas fireplaces
    • These screens fasten to the front of a gas fireplace to create space between the hot glass and the screen.
    • Gas fireplace safety screens must be made or approved by the manufacturer for your gas fireplace.
    • All gas fireplaces sold after January 1, 2015 must come with a safety screen.
  2. Free standing safety gates
    • The gates wrap around the fireplace, including the hearth.
    • They attach to the wall on both sides of the fireplace.
  3. Free standing fireplace screens
    • These screens are placed on the fireplace hearth and are set away from the fireplace.
    • They are moveable and don’t attach to the fireplace or wall.

Supervise your child

  • Restaurants, hotels, and other homes may not have safety barriers around their fireplaces. Be sure you’re always close to your child near a fireplace. Burns can happen during and after use of the fireplace.
  • If you leave the room while the fire is burning or the fireplace is still hot, take your child with you.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before you go to bed or leave the house. Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended.

Teach your child fire safety and what to do if there is a fire

  • Teach your child the dangers of a hot fireplace. 
  • Supervision is important. Toddlers and young children can be taught a safety rule but may not always follow it.
  • Have a fire escape plan in place in case of emergency. Practice household fire drills on a regular basis.
  • Demonstrate and help kids practice “stop, drop, and roll” if clothes catch fire.​

Use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on different levels of your home. Test them every month and change the batteries at least once a year. Check with your city or town’s fire department to learn how to use and maintain your smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Keep a fire extinguisher in your house where it is easy to see and grab if needed. Ensure that they are out of reach of young children. Older c​hildren should be able to reach the fire extinguisher and should be taught how to use it. Check with your city or town’s fire department for more information on the different types of fire extinguishers and how to use them.

Current as of: August 1, 2023

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention, Alberta Health Services