Home heating appliances are essential for keeping houses warm and comfortable, especially during the winter. But despite their practical use, heating appliances can pose serious risks to children, with many common kids accidents in the home involving heaters, radiators or fires. If you’re keen to child-proof your home and reduce the risk of accidents occurring, then here’s a guide to child safety issues surrounding home heating appliances.
Heaters and Child Safety
Portable heaters that plug in and provide much needed warmth in a room, be it electric heaters, halogen heaters, fan heaters or any other form of heating device, are great at what they do, but can be a real safety hazard for young children.
In the first instance, there’s the curiosity factor, whereby a toddler or young child wants to explore this new found object in the room. Even if you’re keeping a close eye on a child, it only takes one swift move on their behalf to have crawled or walked over and touched the heater.
Accidents can happen when children put their hands into the front of the heaters (some have vents or openings at the front), touch a hot area of the heater, pull the cable, trip over the cable, fiddle with the buttons or settings, or head towards the plug.
In an ideal world, it may be preferable not to use a portable heater in a room where you have a young child, to avoid extra worries over safety. In practice, it’s not always possible and you may be relying on the heater as a main source of heat.
If you do need to use a heater when a young child is in the room then the following safety tips could help prevent accidents:
- Distract your child from the intrigue of the heater by setting up a play area away from the heater.
- Use a fireguard (the type where heat will still get through) around the heater, so your child is unable to access the grills or heating controls.
- Teach your child about safety issues involving heaters. Make sure they’re aware that they’re hot devices and shouldn’t be touched; neither should electrical cables or sockets.
Radiators and Child Safety
Radiators are a common feature in many homes today and may be used across the home, in many different rooms. Whilst providing a great source of heating in the colder winter months, like other home heating appliances, radiators do pose a safety risk for children.
One of the main reasons for children having accidents involving radiators is touching them when they’re hot and burning themselves. You can help children learn to be aware of the dangers of a hot radiator by educating them from a young age, so that they know that they shouldn’t touch them.
It’s also advisable to discourage them from turning the controls at the bottom of radiators, as these tend to help regulate the temperature and could cause issues if altered. Sadly they’re also very easily within a child’s reach and grasp, at floor level, so can be a temptation!
Not all radiators look the same – heated ladder style radiator and towel rails in bathrooms can look quite different to a radiator in a lounge – which can be confusing for a child, so be sure to make it clear if you’re staying somewhere that has heating appliances that could be dangerous.
A fire guide can be placed around a radiator if required or, if you’re particularly concerned about radiator safety issues, you could consider having a radiator covered or boxed in. Various companies offer this service and you can either buy a ready made standard cover or have one designed to fit your specifications. The end result is a radiator that is hidden from your child’s touch, but still emits the essential heat your need and can look stylishly designed.
There have also been recorded instants of accidents occurring when young children have been playing, fallen and got stuck between a bed and a radiator, causing burns to their limbs and bodies. So in addition to teaching children about radiator safety, it’s also good to think about careful placement of furniture or objects in a room so that the chance of an accident happening where your child gets stuck next to a hot radiator can be minimised.
Child safety is a key concern for parents and home heating appliances do pose risks, but with a bit of diligence and care, there are plenty of practical ways in which you can minimise the risks and help your child understand the importance of electrical and heating safety.