Saturday, March 21, 2009

Driveway Safety

Driveways can be a very dangerous place for children to play. Your children are at risk from people inadvertently entering your driveway while your they play. The best solution is obviously to simply not use this area as a play space. Realizing that this is not always possible you should take precautions to avoid the possibilities. An easy no cost solution is to simply block the end of your driveway with your car, but lets make sure that your children are inside the house while you do this. Every year children are run over by their own parents while backing out of their driveway.

If using your car as a barrier doesn't work, you could purchase several Children At Play signs or a barrier made of netting that will help keep you little ones from entering the street and alert a driver to the fact that children are at play. These barriers come in several different flavors. The first is the Kidcatcher which it the most substantial but more work to install. Two sleeves are placed in the ground (the best way is to use some quick set concrete around them for better support). two posts are inserted into the sleeves and there is a netting that stretches between them. This is the best system as it is strong enough to stop a small child from running into the street.

The second type is The Kid Safe Driveway Guard which can be purchased in retractable or non-retractable styles and in several lengths. The Kid Safe Driveway Guard is more of a visual barrier and does not have as much strength to stop a child from entering an unsafe area.

No matter which system you choose you should realize its limitations and never leave your children alone when they are at play outside.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fireplace and Wood Stove Safety

Wood Stoves and Fireplaces represent significant hazards to toddlers and young children. The first and most obvious one is the danger of being burnt by the fire in a Fireplace or the hot surface of a Wood Stove or Gas Fireplace.

Lets deal with Wood Stoves first. Almost all Wood Stoves are installed on a brick or stone surface. Some are raised and some are at floor level. The best solution is a HearthGate, it surround the Wood Stove and should be installed at least two feet away from the stove to make sure that a child can not reach the hot surface through the the bars of the gate. This solution guards against burns and the possibility of a toddler falling against the hard surface of the stove or hearth. To the best of my knowledge this is the only practical solution.

Wood burning fireplaces also represent considerable risk to children. As with Wood Stoves the possibility of burns is a major concern and in most cases there is also a raise hearth to contend with. The best solution here is also the HearthGate. In some cases parents may be looking for a different solution. If that is the case for you I would suggest a Fireplace Lock and a Hearth Pad. Hearth Guards as they are also called come in various shapes sizes and colors. Some cover the edge and top of the hearth, some attach with adhesive and some clamp on, you can get them with either standard or oversized edges. Hearth Pads are easy to install and can be kept clean with a damp rag.

The last hazard is the Gas Fireplace. These are exceptionally dangerous. Many generate massive amounts of heat and their surfaces would case instantaneous severe burns. The best solution would be not to use it and just turn of the gas. At the very least make sure that the remote control or switch that controls it is out of reach. The best solution is the same as the others. Install a HearthGate its simple the best solution.