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Baby-proofing your wood stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by RoseRedHoofbeats, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

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    So I have an almost-three-year old and another baby on the way (due in August! very excited!) and I'm contemplating how I'm going to babyproof my stove. We live in a small trailer, so it's going in the living room, which is where we spend pretty much all of our time. It's going along the back wall. The stove itself, the Englander TV-17 is pretty small, and has a 4x3 hearthpad.

    My older daughter I'm not too worried about, especially since this season I'm not going to burn 24/7 and will only do it when I have the opportunity to stay here in the room with her and the stove- there's no other place in the house to be besides my bedroom which is all of fifteen feet away, and I'm a stay at home mother. She knows enough about heat and fire and "hot don't touch" from helping me cook and not touching burners and candles and things. We have a pretty sturdy fireplace screen that I think should do fine for the casual leaning or touching it. [​IMG] It's high and wide enough that I can open the doors to load the stove, so that's nice. I'd like something reasonably attractive, since after I finish remodeling this mudpit it's BY GOD gonna look pretty! =P

    For the new baby, I'm HOPING he or she won't be too terribly mobile by the 2011 heating season... certainly not for the early parts, but maybe the tail end. I was doing some Googling and some people use wrought-iron fencing to construct an all-around fence. But I worry about the metal itself getting hot if it's too close. How far away would the metal have to be to not be burning-temperature? Warm enough to the touch might be a good thing, to teach them that hot = bad. I'm also low on space, so I was also thinking about using some of my leftover plywood/Micore/Hardibacker and tile to make a little wall on the sides with the screen in front of it? What would be a good way to make the scren less likely to tip? It has nice wide trapezoid legs on the middle section but not the sides- I can just see a new walker crashing into it and knocking it over towards the stove which would be BAD.

    I figure there must be a way to do it, since everyone used to have wood stoves and babies... How do you all protect your little ones?

    Thanks!

    ~Rose

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  2. soupy1957

    soupy1957 Minister of Fire

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  3. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

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    The only problem with that is that my living room is only about 12" feet wide- that would take up about half my floor.

    I was thinking of putting up two 24"x24" extenstions, basically to go on the sides of the stove, with the fireplace screen in front. Something like this- http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

    Hard for a kid to climb on and cheaper than $180. Now just how to figure out how to make it stand up on the floor... Whatcha think?

    ~Rose
  4. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    In general, this is a very polarized debate. I'd rank this right up with whether or not you find it appropriate to spank your children. What you do is going to be tied to the very guts of what you believe in terms of education and child rearing.

    Here are a few threads on the topic that I suggest you read... This is certainly not like a discussion on whether or not your firewood is seasoned enough or not. You really have to make your mind up yourself as to what you see is appropriate.

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/59183/

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/28570/

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/20744/

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/3448/

    pen
  5. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

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    Yeaaaaaah. That falls under "bet I can't afford to lose". Toddlers fall down. My living room is cramped. I have two cats, and soon to be two kids, and they chase each other and run around. One of them trips, falls, throws a hand out near the stove, gets a third degree burn. I'm supposed to prevent that how, exactly? I could be watching them like a hawk but seeing as I lack the gift of foresight, I couldn't prevent an accident like that. I'm the farthest thing from over-protective- my daughter's allowed to help me stir things on the gas stove, help me light candles (with her holding the match), make BBQ fires, and I showed her to work the electric screwdriver the other day. Her idea of fun is whacking finishing nails into a piece of two by four with a rubber mallet. But that still doesn't mean I should be careless with the THOUSANDS OF DEGREES HOT FIREBOX in my living room. It's a steel stove. It's gonna get some hot surface temps.

    So, now that we've settled that debate (as far as this thread goes), whatcha think of the fencing idea?

    ~Rose
  6. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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  7. soupy1957

    soupy1957 Minister of Fire

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    As an experienced parent (our kids are now in their 30's) I agree that it is IMPOSSIBLE to watch them 24/7 and they WILL get into "trouble!"

    Better safe than sorry.

    Our living room is only 12 x 15 and it DOES take up some space, but ya know what?............I'll gladly sacrifice some space for right now (for the grandkid's safety) .........I just remind myself that soon it will come down (when the grandkids are 16......lol).

    -Soupy1957
  8. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

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    Well, the clincher is that the living room is also my husband's office and our kitchen and dining room. Here's a layout to give you an idea:
    [​IMG]

    When I say no room I reeeeeally mean no room!

    ~Rose
  9. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

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    Congratulations Rose!!
  10. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

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    Thank you! =)

    ~Rose
  11. cre73

    cre73 Member

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    Well I can add to this a little. I grew up with a woodstove heating our house from birth. No major injuries or scars and I am still alive to talk about it. One thing I can state is once a year I would get a decent burn from the stove. It was close to a high traffic area in the house so we were all passing by it all the time. So either running, playing or just a little slip of mind a burn would occur. What I can tell you is only one burn would occur because after that I would avoid that stove like the plague. I loaded and took care of the stove from the time I was 8 years old to the time I moved out. My mother was a working single mom so I got home after school, would carry in wood, scoop the ashes out, load the stove and get a fire going. A naural respect for the stove will occur. I currently have a six month old baby and while she is in her walker she stares at the stove but has never attempted to touch.
  12. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

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    Well, my dear, if you would like to come live in my house and personally make sure that MY little ones never end up with a painful disfiguring burn and life-long scar "learning to stay away from the stove", you are more than welcome to. Though I think the screen will be a little more fitting with my decor.

    ~Rose
  13. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

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    Yes, it's a tough learning curve. My adult friend suffered third degree burns when she tripped and fell towards the stove and her skin basically melted off the palms of her hands.
  14. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

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    My point exactly. As I said, it's a bet I can't afford to lose. So the stove is going to have some kind of protection around it because I really DON'T NEED the $500 ER visit for a serious burn.

    Now the next post better be about how to properly secure the screen to the hearthpad so it won't tip over, how to make the KidCo gate work in my limited space, or how to get some 24x24 panels to go from the screen to the wall.

    ~Rose
  15. Heem

    Heem New Member

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    our living room is 13x25. The stove is in the southwest corner, the stairs in the south east corner. we have a baby gate that closes off the south 6 feet of the room.
  16. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

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    Where I have the hearth on there is pretty much the only place it can be. The left hand side of the room has cathedral ceilings and it would be harder to get the pipe up through there, and it can't go on the bottom (where the bookshelf is) because there's a 4' wall there that I'd have to tear down and don't want to.

    If the gate could be basically be reduced by half and go around a 3x4 hearth, that would work great. Otherwise I'm afraid it's simply going to take up too much room to really be practical. Life in a tin box, I guess. =P

    ~Rose
  17. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Whatever you choose to use, I would say that it doesn't have to be too far away from the stove. The purpose (at least in my mind) is to just keep the kids from falling on the stove when horsing around, accidently tripping, etc. If the kid purposefully reachs through a gate and touches the stove, the burn received wouldn't be that bad and it would serve to prove to them that you were right in telling them to keep away it's HOT! I see the gate as preventing accidents, but it is not a replacement for parenting. I have seen some folks who don't get this and the stove becomes the "forbidden fuit" of sorts and the kid finds great enjoyment in throwing every flammable toy they have into this forbidden zone.

    pen
  18. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

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    Oh, I absolutely agree with you there. They'll still learn that the stove is hot, not to touch it, not to throw things over the gate, not to put things on top of it, not to run between my legs while I'm carrying firewood, don't play in the ash can, don't hit each other with the fireplace shovel... If it were just my three year old, I wouldn't worry at all, it's having a new walker that I'm most worried about.

    ~Rose
  19. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I have the same gate that has been suggested to you. Each section can be removed easily so you can customize the size easily. In fact I believe they make some 1/2 length 'extensions' - but I may be wrong on that point.

    As to where to get it - keep an eye on your CL postings. I bought mine from CL and I have seen them pop up quite often since then in my area. I imagine others (like myself) plan to use them just until the kids are old enough to no longer need the protection then pass them on. This is a very durable product - not much to wear out or break really.

    As to the temps - mine sits about 18-14" from the stove - if it really matters I can measure the distance for you when I get home. The glass can really get hot (measured over 700 at times with IR gun) and the gate has never gotten hot enough to burn but has been warm to the touch.
  20. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    We haven't even started with the install of our stove yet, but I'm already looking at fences (1 wee little 4 year old granddaughter and another little princess gonna arrive in late Jan/early Feb).

    I'm really startin' to like you and your thinking there, Soupy.

    Ed
  21. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Congratulations on the new baby!!!

    Having said that, $500 is a lot of money, but still, that was kind of an interesting statement.

    As for bracing the panels from the screen to the wall... Get some large L-shaped shelf brackets, place the brackets on the inside of the screen and attach them to the screen's uprights with screws (nuts and bolts would be better). Screw the other bracket leg to the floor/hearth (be sure no electrical wires or plumbing are running under the floor there). Do the same thing with your fabricated plywood/micore/tile panels but also attach the panels to the screen with some short metal straps (screwed) and with some small angle braces to the wall.

    Or you could use a guy-wire system with wires going from the top of the screen down to the stove legs...wouldn't help on pushing against the screen but would help on pulling on it.

    I'm sure other folks have better ideas but there's a few for you.

    Be sure to keep your clearances from combustibles.

    Best wishes and Merry Christmas!
    Ed
  22. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    I have a firebug 2 year old son, the kid co gate is highly recommended.

    [​IMG]
  23. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I'm curious as to how long the side panels can be. My stove is a hearth stove and I need something like a 36" depth to cover hearth and stove with probably 36" to 48" width. ???

    I don't mean to hijack the thread, but curious about the possible dimensions of the gate/fence setup.

    Ed
  24. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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  25. tcassavaugh

    tcassavaugh Minister of Fire

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    rosie, i feel your pain. i had four kids around the stove ranging from two to 10. They learned not to fool around near it. They just touched it once and that was enough to straighten out their learning curve. That was years ago, and times sure have changed.

    Looking at your choice for a barrier, i wonder if the legs could be threaded so you could put a bolt on them and attach each leg to a weight like a brick, steel or even a 2 x 4 with counter sunk holes on the bottom and the fence would be self supporting. Just a thought. another option might be to use some zip ties to anchor two or three toghether, forming a hinge so at least they would be self supporting when put at right angles around the stove. I know it sounds a little redneck but the ties might work.

    cass

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