With winter just around the corner now, many of us will be stocking up on coal and firewood for those cold winter nights. It’s also the time of year when many of us get our chimneys inspected and cleaned for safety reasons. For those of us with young children around the house, however, winter requires us to take some extra safety precautions. Whether it’s ensuring our fireplace is adequately shielded against curious toddlers, or that we’ve made our radiators safe, it’s always good to keep these basic safety precautions in mind.


In this week’s article, we take a look at some important child-proofing tips for the winter months. Take a look.


Fireplace Safety


During the winter months, there’s nothing more comforting than hearing the crackle of a fireplace on a cold evening. And yet, although fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are excellent ways to warm your home and cut down on the heating bill, it’s important to ensure you take the necessary precautions. Because many toddlers and young children tend to be adventurous, it’s very important to safeguard your fireplace against unintended accidents. Not only that, but fireplaces - if improperly cared for and managed - can pose serious risks to your and your family. Let’s take a look at some basic precautions.


- First, it’s important to get your chimney inspecated and cleaned annually. Unclean chimneys can cause chimney fires.

 

- Never leave any decorations, paper, or other flammable items near the fireplace when it’s burning. This is particularly important to remember during Christmas time, when gifts and tinsel are often lying around.

 

- Always use a fireguard in front of the fire, to prevent embers jumping out.

 

- Absolutely never leave children unattended in the same room as a burning fireplace.

 

- Make sure your children know that the fireplace is off-limits and extremely dangerous.

 

- Purchase a baby gate designed especially for fireplaces. These are available to purchase in many shops and online.


General Fire Safety


Some other general fire safety precautions to keep in mind are as follows:

 

- Never leave lit candles unattended.

 

- Install a reliable smoke alarm and test it to make sures its batteries are working, regularly.


Carbon Monoxide Safety


Fire isn’t the only concern during the winter months. Carbon monoxide can also pose a risk during these months, due to certain appliances being used in and around the home. Having high levels of carbon monoxide in your home can cause you or your family to become ill, for example, and in some cases, even result in death. Although the threat of carbon monoxide can be easily avoided, it’s worth reminding oneself about the necessary precautions. Let’s take a look at these in turn.


- Firstly, install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and ensure its batteries remain full.

- If you have a garage, never leave your car running inside. This creates excess amounts of carbon monoxide.

- Never run an engine of any kind outside an open window of your house. For example, running a car engine, generator or other kind of engine directly outside the window could result in carbon monoxide fumes entering the house.

- Never use a camping stove or a charcoal grill inside your home, or any other enclosed space.


General Heater & Radiator Precautions


- If you have exposed radiators in your house, which are easily accessible to children, consider using a safety gate around them to prevent burns or injury.

- Another option is to construct a wooden radiator cover to shield your radiators. These obviously require a bit more construction know-how than a simple safety gate, but can provide practical and permanent protection for you and your family.

- Additionally, you can also purchase fabric radiator covers in a variety of shops. These covers are made of a special, fire-resistant fabric - that won’t overheat and burn while on the radiator. Not only will they prevent accidental burns, but they will soften the edges and overall radiator, which can help avoid bumps, tumbles and other accidents.


Sources:


http://parent.guide/how-to-baby-proof-your-fireplace/


https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Fireplace-Safety.aspx


http://www.motherandbaby.co.uk/baby-and-toddler/baby/looking-after-your-baby/how-to-child-proof-furniture-and-radiators