Securing the fire at home for our little ones is one of the top priorities for parents in Ireland and probably one of the most obvious baby proofing tasks. Let’s face it, in Ireland we need our heat in almost every month of the year, and in our house even in summer it wouldn’t be unusual to see our stove burning in the evenings if only for a while! There is nothing more frustrating than trying to relax in front of the fire and trying to watch out for your toddler at the same time – not so relaxing. Luckily for us there is such a thing as baby fireguards! And you will likely need one for at least two years so it’s worth making sure you get a good one.
Baby fire guards are quite different from standard fireguards you might find in a DIY store. A good baby fire guard should cover all the bases that a standard fireguard does not - unmovable, unclimbable, should not over-heat and keep your child away from the fire with 100% confidence. With so many different room styles, room sizes and fireplace/stove types out there it can be a little challenging choosing fireguard that ticks all the boxes, fits well and looks good. We have put together a few things to consider before you go out and buy one.
You’re definitely going to want to clear your hearth with the fireguard. Most wood burning stoves and fireplaces sit on a raised hearth stone. The hearth in itself is a safety hazard and poses a collision risk for your toddler with sharp, hard edges and corners. Even if your hearth is set at ground level the fireguard will look a lot better if it clears the stones nicely. Measure the length and depth of your hearth and make sure the fire guard you purchase will surround it.
There are so many different styles of living rooms and family rooms out there. Extra-large living rooms and hearths in more rural areas are common and if you have the space it is nice to get a larger fireguard, so you can keep logs behind the guard. For smaller living rooms with smaller fires its worth considering a smaller size,so you’re not taking over the room completely!
Always choose a fireguard that is screw fitted. Anything less and your little one won’t be long figuring out that it can pulled away from the wall. Resist the temptation not to fit the brackets – it will happen. Make sure you choose a design that will clear skirting boards as some brands from overseas cater for houses that don’t use skirting boards. The Babasafe Multifit ticks all these boxes nicely.
Distance from heat source.
2 things here. Firstly you don’t want the fireplace or stove to be so close to the edge of the baby fire guard that they could reach in to touch it or even close to it. Be mindful of wood burning stoves that sit out on the hearth or are only half set in the chimney breast. Secondly all fireguards including baby fireguards have a risk of overheating. Every fire is different – some extremely hot, burning for long periods and even some modern stoves can reach incredibly hot temperatures. The recommended precautionary distance from Babasafe is 75 cm for all segments from a stove and 90 cm from an open fire. You may not require this or you may require a greater distance. The key here is to check regularly for over-heating and if you need to increase the distance you can always buy and extension later.
There are no official regulations on what distance you should have a fireguard from a stove/FIRE in Ireland and many of the stove manufacturers have individual requirements. We recommend considering the distance to the fire carefully. The fireguard should firstly not be so close to the heat source that your child can reach through the bars and touch the fire from any angle. Normally over 40cm is too far for a child up to 24 months of age to reach.
Secondly, as the fireguard is made from metal, you should consider the possibility of the fireguard overheating on every panel both front and sides. Every fire/stove is different and the temperature from house to house can vary depending on the kilowatt of the stove and the strength of the fire as well as the length of time the fireguard is exposed to heat. As a precaution in our user manual, we mention the distance from a stove should be 75cm, and the distance from an open flame fire should be 90cm. However, in many homes, this distance is not required and is not even possible due to space limitations and in some homes, more 75cm is required! It is the responsibility of the user to check the guard both initially and regularly to ensure the gate is not getting too hot. We included the over-heat thermometer strip to assist you with this - anything above 40° is considered too hot to touch. If you find your fireguard is over-heating discontinue use immediately and look at extensions from Babasafe to increase the distance.
Most purpose built baby fire guards are suitable for children up to 24 months of age and should be at least 75 cm to avoid any climbing hazards. That’s not to say your little one isn’t a budding Bear Grylls and won’t be able to climb it before so keep a watch out. Be aware of furniture sitting close by to the fire guard that it cant be used to climb over. If your room is a little cluttered, consider re arranging and if possible try to choose a size fireguard that fits a little snugger all else considered.
- The fireguard should be baby proof and have nontoxic paint.
- The fire guard should not have any sharp corners. No point in surround the hearth if the fire guard is a collision hazard in itself!
- The fireguard should have a baby proof door that is large enough for easy access.
- Buy a baby fireguard that can be folded up and stored when not in use. Nothing worse than having to negotiate a “contraption” sitting in the garage or in the spare room!
- If you’re a barbecue fan a handy reuse for a baby fireguard is to surround the BBQ during summer.
- Use edge guards and corner edge guards when not using your fire guard - it will help eliminate the collision hazard.
Be sure to check out the Babasafe Multifit Fire Guard. Its a purpose designed nursery fireguard that covers all the bases and comes comes in 6 sizes and you can even get a custom fit.