Childproofing · Living Room

Fireplace and childproofing

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As a makeshift childproofing solution, I pinned the metal screen against the fireplace with two moving boxes. This didn’t seem like a good long-term solution.

Being a practical person who was born and raised in California, I never cared much for fireplaces. My parents have one in their house and we never used it. Not once. The mantle just became a place for them to stack their crap so that eventually we literally could not even see the fireplace. When my husband and I were shopping around for a house, I remember remarking to our real estate agent that I preferred a house without a fireplace. “Most people won’t buy a house unless it has one, ” she guffawed.

Even though I have no intention of using the one in our new house, I have to admit that I do love the way it looks. The major problem is that the screen is light and flimsy, and it became very difficult to prevent my curious baby from constantly tugging on it. I searched all sorts of DIY solutions to childproof the fireplace, but still make the room look chic. Last thing I wanted was to bolt a baby gate around the hearth. Not only would look horrendous, but it would also serve as a reminder that I’ve become a slave to my baby’s whims. I couldn’t find a DIY option that didn’t make my head spin. While this chalkboard fireplace cover looks great, did I really want to spend all that time trying to build it? Plus, I’d also have to modify it to make it truly childproof so that Miles wouldn’t be able to pull the entire thing down on himself.

My mother-in-law had suggested glass doors, but I thought that was going to entail hiring a professional to do custom work. However, when I finally did the research, I realized I could do it myself and so I figured I’d give it a shot. I ordered Pleasant Hearth doors in the Carlisle model. It came pre-assembled and all I had to do was mount it over the firebox hole, which turned out to be way easier than I thought. I’d say it took me about an hour to do the entire installation, and that’s factoring in the time it took to wipe down and prep the fireplace and then clean up the mess afterwards. Overall, I’m really happy with how it turned out. The fireplace looks polished and most importantly, it looks better than anything I could have made myself.

I also purchased this fireplace doorlock from Amazon. It’s a very simple device that sandwiches the handles so that you can’t open the doors. I’m happy to report that it successfully thwarted my son’s attempts to break in. And it has a very subtle footprint — once it’s on, you can’t even really tell there is a lock on it. What do you think of the way the fireplace turned out?

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