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Child Safety

Fireplace Safety

Many homers, 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. One of the best ways to do this is to teach your child about the dangers of fire and the heat it creates.

Did you know?

  • Every type of 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 6 minutes and stays hot for up to 45 minutes after the fireplace is turned off.
  • It takes less than 1 second for the hot glass of a gas fireplace to cause a serious burn.
  • Many burns caused by touching the glass on a gas fireplace can be serious enough to need surgery and cause long-term problems.
  • Hands are the most common part of the body to get burned.

What can I do to keep my child safe?

Use a barrier with your fireplace
Barriers prevent direct contact with the 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 an air space between the hot glass and the screen.
    • Gas fireplace safety screens are not “one size fits all”. They must be made or approved by the manufacturer of 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 set back from the fireplace and placed on the fireplace hearth.
    • They are moveable and don’t attach to the fireplace or wall.

Supervise your child

  • Never leave a young child alone 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.
  • Restaurants, hotels, and other homes may not have safety barriers around their fireplaces. Be sure you’re always close to your child when you’re around a fireplace.

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 on 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 children. 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: June 10, 2020

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention, Alberta Health Services