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One of my all-time favorite winter activities is cozying up by a fireplace with a good book and a nice glass of red wine. Alas, with babies at home, this relaxing ritual of mine has suddenly become significantly more stressful than it used to be. I’ve had to take some precautions to make sure that my curious, active, energetic, carefree, and, sometimes, careless(!) kids stay safe and sound.

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Fireplace Safety Tips

You see, the glass and surrounding metal on a gas fireplace gets very, very hot—and can stay very, very hot—even after the appliance has been turned off. The Hearth, Patio, & Barbecue Association is on a mission to prevent children (and adults and pets!) from getting burns, and I’m doing my due-diligence at home and on the blog to help spread the word...

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Adding a Barrier

Having an actual physical barrier in front of a fireplace is the best way to prevent burns and injuries from direct contact. If you have an existing fireplace, stove, or insert, install a protective screen or physical barrier to reduce risk. You can also contact your local hearth specialty retailer for tips and advice on the types of safety devices available for your specific product.

A new mandatory safety standard for glass-front fireplaces ensures appliances manufactured after Jan. 1, 2015, include a safety screen or barricade. For the past year, gas fireplace manufacturers have been working with the CSA Group to develop a safety standard for all new gas fireplaces, stoves, and inserts with glass fronts. Rigorous testing proved that safety screens are effective in preventing serious burns—meaning, Mama doesn't have to totally give up her beloved winter snuggle spot! [Insert sigh of relief.]

Of course, you can baby-proof with all sorts of gates, gear, and cool contraptions, but you still have to keep an eye on those inquisitive tykes of yours. Monitor, supervise, and stay alert around fireplaces. So maybe bury your nose in a book with your glass of Cab after you put babies to bed… I know I will.

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