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Subject: misc.kids FAQ on Babyproofing - Hearths

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:23 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: misc-kids/babyproofing
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Archive-name: misc-kids/babyproofing/hearths Posting-Frequency: monthly
=============================================================================== Childproofing a Hearth =============================================================================== From: Harry Jenter, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston VA hjenter@sparky.er.usgs.gov Thanks to everyone that responded to my original request for hearth child-proofing. Here is a collection of the responses that I received. They're grouped loosely into three categories: 1) physical modifications to the hearth 2) teaching the child to avoid hearths 3) erecting a barrier or placing pads on the hearth I've editted them a little to reduce space. ******************************************************************************* From: mikey@eskimo.com (Mike Fields) What we did for our hearth that has worked out very well was to get some of those steel angle sheet rock corners (light wt. steel angle iron equiv about 1-1/4 X 1-1/4 inches) and glue polyfoam pipe insulation with a 90 degree wedge cut out of it to the angle. We then screwed the angle to the hearth after drilling small holes with a masonary bit. Works great! and the advantage of using the steel angle instead of gluing directly to the hearth is that when the kids get older etc, it is easy to remove, leaving only the small mounting holes. Of course, you have to watch for them trying to eat the stuff when they are teething (as well as anything else they can wrap their gums around!!) We also used the foam insulation on the aquarium stand that I welded up (80 gallon tank ) for the front room. The pipe insulation comes in 6 foot lengths (I think) and is only a couple of dollars per length. It is avail in a number of sizes, although the most common one seems to be for 1/2 or 3/4 inch pipe. This has an outside diameter of about 2 inches. It is available in off-white, brown, gray and perhaps some other colors. hope that saves someone's head/teeth!! ******************************************************************************* From: tigger@satyr.Sylvan.COM (Grace Sylvan) There is a company that advertises in _Mothering_ magazine. Protect your Child from dangerous fireplace hearths. Starts at $39.95, custom built 6 colors. Call 404-717-0088 Baby Bumpers, Inc. 479 Loma St. Liburn GA 30247 Disclaimer: I have not ordered one, and I don't represent the company, just passing on info that I remembered seeing ******************************************************************************* From: monica@cerl.uiuc.edu (Monica Fortner) What we did was cover some sheets of 1/2 inch cork with clear contact paper and then fasten that to the fireplace with Liquid Nails. The cork was about the same color as our brick, so it looked ok. It has held up for 3 years. My biggest concern is when we want to sell the house, we may have trouble removing the Liquid Nail spots. ******************************************************************************* From: dsegelho@oasys.dt.navy.mil (Diane Segelhorst) I forget where I read this idea. It may have been on misc.kids, and the originator will mail you a response as well. Just in case (s)he doesn't, I'll try to summarize what I remember. Take some of that metal or plastic outside corner strip. It is about 3/4" by 3/4". With small cement or brick anchors, or burred nails, attach this to the brick corner of the hearth. Use as few nails as will hold it securely. Then take the foam pipe insulators that you can get at a hardware store. Cut out one quarter of the insulator, and glue it to the metal stripping. This provides a nice cushioned corner. When you are ready to remove it, all you will be left with is the few small nail holes you used to hold the metal stripping in place. I'll _try_ to do an ascii sketch, but who knows if it will help you understand what I mean! ____ / \ Foam Pipe / __\ Cover | | ______ Metal Corner stuff \ | | ________________________ \___| | | | | Brick Hearth | | EDITORIAL NOTE: I received a phone call from Mike Fields who described this solution in great detail. He may have been the original poster mentioned above. Thanks, Mike. --Harry ******************************************************************************* From: lauraf@notavax.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Laura Floom) If you cant baby proof it, then the best thing to do is to teach him how to climb up and down safely. I have some cement steps in my front and back yard, and that's what we did. ******************************************************************************* From: dlin@weber.UCSD.EDU (Diane Lin) We have a similar situation--brick fireplace which is never used, but it's one of the only Off-Limits areas we have in our place left :-). We just instituted a simple rule: the fireplace hearth was off-limits. So, when Dylan started making his way over there, we would say (very calmly and in a normal voice) "off-limits." Then, we would pick him up and transport him to a safer area, and try to distract him with something fun to play with. He would keep testing (at 10 months, so will your son, I imagine) but after being faced with the same, exact reaction from us, he soon tired of the test. We wanted to save using "no" for really serious things, like life or limb-threatening situations. BTW, he started crawling over to the fireplace at about 7 months, and now, at 15 months, he rarely even looks that way, because he knows what will happen--consistency is all important in the early limits placing, IMHO. We don't make it fun for him to go to the off-limits areas (no swooping in the air, for instance), but will make it more fun for him to avoid that area. Friends of ours took a different tack--they surrounded the hearth with big pillows in case their sons took a fall. Well, unfortunately, that worked only for a little while, until the kids were big enough to push the pillows out of the way. And, it didn't help the kids learn that *all* fireplace hearths should be off-limits. When we visit other houses, Dylan automatically avoids the hearth areas. Maybe he just doesn't have a fascination with bricks :-) ******************************************************************************* From: latwood@logdis1.oo.aflc.af.mil (Lynette Atwood) I have the same problem at home. For our first child we had to cut a large cardboard box (I believe it was a windshield box) and tape it around the hearth. It looked tacky as hell but saved our little monster's head. With this new baby (9 months old) we planned ahead. We had my brother-in-law (who works for a plexiglass manufacturing company) make a shield which goes around the three sides of the hearth and is about 24 inches high. All corners are rounded off and the top has a small (4 inch) shelf which faces in towards the fireplace to prevent cuts. The plexiglass doesn't distract from the rest of the home. ******************************************************************************* From: phillips@bright.uoregon.edu (Chris Phillips) We never use our fireplace. So I covered the whole lower part with cardboard (leftover from moving boxes). It is still somewhat hard, but at least is not as bad as brick or stone. It also helps a little to have the bends in the cardboard a bit away from the corners they cover. You would have to take it away when you had a fire (it could catch fire). ******************************************************************************* From: Craig Seidel <seidel@puma.sri.com> If you don't mind UGLY, I've heard of people finding a box the same size as their fireplace. I covered mine with plywood until we could teach our child to keep away. ******************************************************************************* From: author@sgml.HQ.Ileaf.COM (Betsy Mandrus x2331) We had this problem so my husband built a fence around the hearth and covered it with some inexpensive but tough carpetting. ******************************************************************************* From: gatech!cs.utexas.edu!swrinde!ames.arc.nasa.gov!versatc!terri@ms.uky.edu We have a free-standing fireplace in the middle of our living room (we didn't design the layout!). It's our primary source of heat, and we have a 3yr old and a 19 mo old, so we need pretty good child-proofing. We use a big child-gate -- I think they're also called portable playyards. It's one of those accordian things made out of panels; each panel about 3 ft long, 18 ft long total. We wrap it all the way around. I bought it at a garage sale for $5. I've seen them in stores (ToysRUs, baby stores) and catalogs for alot more -- about $60-$70. The other similar situtation we had was with the coffee table -- we decided it's an essential piece of furniture, but it's also the source of alot of bumps. When my son was learning to walk, I made a pad out of foam rubber covered with cloth. It wrapped all the way around the table and fastened with velcro. Unfortunately we took it off when he seemed steady on his feet, and didn't put it back on for the 2nd child until AFTER she ran into it with enough force to require 4 stitches. The pad isn't pretty, but neither were the stitches! ******************************************************************************* From: nola@cats.UCSC.EDU When our oldest daughter was that age she was fascinated with the hearth (a raised brick platform) also. We stopped having fires, obviously, so we weren't worried about the flammability of a hearth pad. We used an ensolite foam pad, the kind backpackers used to use and held it down with duct tape. It was pretty apparent to anyone who entered our living room that there was a toddler in the house! But of all the tumbles she took that launched her into the hearth she never got so much as a bruise. Gradually the hearth lost its appeal, we removed the foam pad, started having fires again, and found new things to worry about. But I will always remember the time I walked into the living room just as she was climbing onto the hearth and she looked over her shoulder at me and said "no-no. Hot!", laughed, and continued climbing up onto the hearth. ******************************************************************************* From: Laurie Hafner <lhafner@vaxa.weeg.uiowa.edu> We purchased 6 bedsize pillows (inexpensive ones) and my husband's grandmother made covers for them to match the colors in our living room. We prop the pillows up against the fireplace. They have provided an excellent barrier to the bricks. We have not had any accidents so far - thank goodness. We have a 28 mo old and a 14 mo old - both boys who are very rough and tumble with each other. When we use the fireplace, we remove the pillows and are always right there to make sure they don't get burned or bumped. ******************************************************************************* From: Jean Jasinski <jean@hpfcso.fc.hp.com> We bought a 2 inch thick piece of foam the length of the hearth and covered it with a blanket. The foam extends over the front edge which is also draped by the blanket so if they hit the top edge, they don't catch the edge of the hearth. We also put some corner guards on the corners. It doesn't look the fanciest, but I am more concerned with my kids' safety. ******************************************************************************* From: hardend@LONEX.RL.AF.MIL (Debbie D. Harden) We, too, have an "evil" hearth. For awhile, a thick blanket draped over the hearth worked well. Then James learned how to pull it off. We received a mail-order cat. called "Perfectly Safe." In it they have hearth bumpers you can purchase, but you have to call for a $ estimate. If you're interested, I can bring it in tomorrow and e-mail you their number. ******************************************************************************* From: hardend@LONEX.RL.AF.MIL (Debbie D. Harden) The company is called "Perfectly Safe." Their customer service number is 1-800-837-KIDS, Monday - Friday, 0900-1700. They show a similar shield for coffee tables that costs $44.95 to fit tables 93" - 192" around. The hearth guard is pictured on page 22 of their catalogue. If they ask for a number on the mailing label (to see which catalogue you're talking about) it's FA170. -- Harry L. Jenter hjenter@sparky.er.usgs.gov U.S. Geological Survey COM: (703) 648-5890 FTS: 959-5890 Mailstop 430, National Center "Sometimes you're the bug. Reston, Virginia 22092 Sometimes you're the windshield." ******************************************************************************* >From smithdr@mof.govt.nz Thu Jul 2 13:20:10 1992 re: childproofing a woodstove These are used widely in New Zealand. Studies have shown that children rarely touch woodstoves deliberately, as they are usually deterred by the heat. ( Adults are the main culprits, as their faces are generally too far above the stove to feel the heat ) most cases of burns in children are caused by them tripping and falling against the stove. Skin will stick to the glass doors and cause terrible burns. The best safeguard against this is a wrought iron ( or sometimes aluminium ) "cage" around the stove. Even a couple of inches from the stove is effective, as the cage prevents contact with the stove. Although the cage may get hot from radiation, it will not cause burns. Vertical bars twelve inches apart are effective. Here, the cages are made at reasonable cost by people who make gates, fences, pool enclosures, etc. Many are made by D.I.Y . ******************************************************************************* From: Susan Raymond, University of Michigan sraymond@umich.edu I have a source for babyproofing a hearth that I would like to mention. In the last paragraph a man from New Zealand mentions putting a wrought iron cage around a wood stove and that many local craftsman make these. I had a hard time finding one here in the US. (Although it would seem logical to sell these at wood stove stores.) The following catalog carries a wrought iron cage at a reasonable price. For about $60 plus shipping and handling: Plow & Hearth P.O. Box 5000 Madison, Virginia 22727-1500 24 hr ordering 1-800-627-1712 toll-free fax: 1-800-843-2509 Customer assistance: 1-800-866-6072 ******************************************************************************* From: Tom McBrine mcbrinet@mail1.bytex.network.com We have a fairly large hearth on our fireplace (8' long, 2 1/2' deep and at least 8" high). What we did was build a wood cap which incased the hearth on 3 sides, padded it with 1" styrofoam, and covered it with contact paper in a color that matched the rug in the room. Due to it's weight, there's no need to anchor it down. It ain't going anywhere! You can't have fires, but it has really saved our kids from serious injury. Just the other day our oldest, Jenny (2 1/2 yrs), tripped on a toy and when she fell her forehead struck the front corner of the padded hearth. She cried from the impact, but there wasn't a scratch on her. This is a good example of why I feel teaching a child to avoid the hearth isn't good enough. Accidents do happen! ********************************************************************************