Wood stoves are perfect for heating the house during winter, and many people prefer them to the traditional fireplace. They’re easy to maintain and operate, while the chimney and the doors keep the smoke away from the room. While a wood stove might effectively warm a house, there are some reservations regarding its safety, especially around children and infants. Is it safe to use a wood stove around toddlers?
Casual use of wood stoves poses no health risk to children, but it gets a bit dangerous if you use the stove more often. The smoke could cause eye and throat irritation, not to mention the long-term lung damage they might suffer from excess smoke inhalation. Burns are also other forms of risk, but you can always teach them to stay away from the stove.
That’s not all, as you still need to know how to keep your child away from the woodstove, whether you can use a fireplace with a newborn, and if it’s safe to have babies around the fireplace smoke, which you will learn if you read on.
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Are Wood Burning Stoves Safe for Children?
The weather can get too cold at times, especially during winter, which can make staying at home uncomfortable unless you heat it up. Although a fireplace can get the job done, many people prefer using a wood stove for several reasons:
- It’s easy to use and operate – you just add in wood, light it up, and you’re good to go.
- It requires minimal maintenance – you’ll find it easy to clean the ash after use compared to a fireplace.
- Easy to install – you can have a wood stove added to any house, even though it wasn’t made with a fireplace in mind.
It’s safe to use a wood stove with children around, provided it is casual use. Lighting a wood stove not more than three times a week could help warm the house and still guarantee their health safety. If limited use will not work for you, it’s time you invested in another warming system.
Prolonged use of wood stoves around children could result in eyes and throat irritation from the smoke. The stove might be sealed to prevent smoke from escaping into the room, but it’s possible to have the smoke escape, especially when you’re lighting it or if the doors get damaged.
However, a little fresh air, washing the face with clean water, and drinking cold beverages does the trick.
Serious health risks like lung damage might develop if the children are exposed to more smoke over a long time. According to PubMed, children are at a higher risk of developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia when they inhale too much smoke, primarily from wood burners.
How do I Keep My Baby Away from the Wood Burning Stove?
Children are curious and unable to identify any dangerous item. The best way to protect them from the wood-burning stove is to place it in places they can’t reach, like in an elevated position. Also, you could take time to teach them the dangers of touching a burning stove.
Toddlers are the most stubborn when it comes to touching things they shouldn’t. This makes it a challenge for parents to teach them that the woodstove is dangerous to them. However, you could keep the baby away from the room with a wood stove if you’re not in it.
Alternatively, you could construct a baby gate leading to the room with a wood stove to keep them away from the room.
If your child is old enough, you can have a talk with them regarding the dangers of a wood stove.
Can I have a Fire in my Fireplace with a Newborn?
Fires and babies are not the best of ideas, and it’s always best to exercise caution when you’re expecting a newborn. Besides inhaling fumes from the wood, a newborn’s skin is also very sensitive to heat, and you risk burns if you leave them close to the fireplace.
Try baby proofing the fireplace to make it safe for the newborn by taking these steps:
- Construct a baby gate near the fireplace
- Keep the chimney clean at all times
- Install a glass door to the fireplace
- Remove the fireplace tools from reach
- Keep the fireplace in clear sight to monitor in case the baby wanders into it
- Always put off the fire after you’re done using the fireplace
- Don’t use any wood with chemical additives
Remember to keep the room ventilated if you must have your newborn, and keep a healthy distance between them and the fire.
Can Babies Be Around Fireplace Smoke?
Fireplace smoke is hazardous to anyone, including the babies. Their immune system is still developing, and inhaling the smoke could affect their lungs and throat. Also, the effects could be severe and affect their brain as well.
Unlike adults who can walk away when there’s smoke around them, babies lack this ability, and it’s easy for them to chock and suffocates. Before lighting a fireplace, make sure you get the baby out of the room until the smoke has cleared. Also, ensure the room is well ventilated by starting your AC unit.
Make sure you seek a medical emergency if you suspect the baby has inhaled the smoke. Also, try using natural wood without any chemical preservatives as this would compromise the smoke and make it too toxic to inhale. Check for any damages to the fireplace, as this would help to limit the amount of smoke escaping into the house.
Wood stoves are handy in keeping your home warm during cold weather. They’re easy to use, maintain, and operate. The stoves are also designed to hold the smoke inside and discharge it through the chimney.
However, it’s not recommended to have a baby inside the house with a wood stove on, as they may suffer from throat and eyes irritation. They can also suffer burns to their skin and lung damage from inhaling the heat. Seek medical attention if you suspect the baby is harmed by the heat or smoke.