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Please Note! BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and has moved to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
Please Note! BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and has moved to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
We need to baby-proof our floor heater in our rented duplex or move. The heater is 17''x22'' and right in front of entrances to the bathroom, 11-month old baby's room, and living room (to get anywhere, we have to pass over it or walk in a very narrow corridor around it.) We have the Bananas handout on how to build a wooden cover, which shows the frame would be 9'' high. If you have built this, do you step on it or around it; did you get used to it; do you or baby trip on it a lot? Can we consider forgoing the cover and turning on the heater only when baby is in his crib? Any ideas, or photos of your solution would be welcome.
I have a terriable problem I have a son that is 10 months old (8 and half adjusted) and we live in house that has the old heaters that are in the floor which we still use and works fine during the winter. It is in a very odd place where I can not put a baby gate up because it will get very hot and melt. Plus there is no way to put the gate up because it is not in a corner. My son is learing to crawl and I need to protect him from this thing. We do not have enough money to replace it and it costs about $5000.00. I have bought space heaters and they do not warm up our hours even after it's been on forever. Any ideas on how I can baby-proof this thing??
We have a nine month old just beginning to crawl, and we live in an older home that still has gas heaters under the house with metal grates in the floor. The grates are approximately two feet by three feet in dimension and get very very hot. Our nine month old goes straight for them. To make things even trickier...he is also pulling himself to standing on anything that is the correct height. Anyone out there with a similar dilemma or a clever idea for how we can childproof the grates ASAP??? Paloma
We need to child-proof our floor furnace. We live in a 1924 home in Oakland and still rely on the (original?) floor furnace ... it looks sort of like an air return vent for a central heating system, but the entire furnace is under the vent. The metal grate gets very hot and we need to figure out how to protect our soon-to-be-mobile 9-month-old. Has anyone else dealt with this? Any advice much appreciated! p.
Oak flooring is available at most lumber yards to close up the old hole in the floor so that nobody can tell there used to be a hole there.
Warm, but not burned
1) Safety of your child (or visitor) walking on the hot grate.
2) Safety from fire. A neighbor of mine had a major house fire when a blanket slid over her heater. She was in the kitchen and didn't notice until the living room was in flames. (This really scared us into action)
3) Safety from noxious gases. In-floor furnaces are not well sealed, especially around the mica window that lets you see the flame. And the old heat-exchanger can corrode or rust, allowing combustion gases to get into the living space.
4) Efficiency. The old floor heaters are around 30 to 50 percent efficient. Much of your heat goes up the flue!
5) Comfort. It only heats one or two rooms. Ours didn't have a thermostat (we could only turn it on or off using a funny shaped key)
In 1998, a heating contractor replaced our in-floor heater with a gas-fired, central forced-air heating unit. They installed six heating outlets, one in each room. We placed the kitchen warm-air duct right below our sink, so my feet get warm when I'm washing dishes. The old heater was removed and the hole became the return air duct and holder for the air filter.
The furnace itself is about 60,000 btu, plenty for our 2-bedroom bungalow. It's over 95 percent efficient - so little heat leaves the furnace that the exhaust flue is just a plastic pipe. The cost was about $4000, and took 2 days.
No more burn worries. Each room gets toasty. A real thermostat. It's an expensive solution, but after 10 years, we're happy we did it. Cliff S
We live in a 100 year old house--which came with an old fashioned in-floor heater. There is no ductwork--simply a metal grate directly above the heater. Its our only heating system for the house--so we need to use it this winter--but also need to protect our 13 month old. Unfortunately the grate is right in the middle of our living room/dining room (not next to a wall). Does anyone has any bright ideas about how to block it off--yet allow us to use it still? The system they describe on the Bananas site doesn't seem high enough. And, yes we'd love to put in whole house heating--but it will cost $9000 and we just can't do it this winter. Any advice would be great! Jennifer
Hi. We have a 15 month old and two large heating grates on the floor. We are worried that she will trip and fall on it when we have the heat in the winter.. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to protect/cover the grate so that we still get heat but prevents our daughter from the grate. Thank you mari
My husband and I and our eighteen-month-old daughter live in a rented house with an antiquated heating system: the "central" heating comes from a floor grate in the middle of the hallway that separates the front of the house (kitchen, living room) from the bedrooms. The grate is huge! The hallway is 39 inches wide, and the grate is 24 inches wide and 15 inches long, so itís almost impossible to avoid. Last winter, the grate got terribly hot when we had the heat on, but my husband and I just stepped over it and kept our daughter away from it entirely. This year, our daughter is walking and Iím worried that sheís going to burn herself (either feet or hands) badly. Iíve searched the archives and saw the Bananas blueprint for a grate cover, but that seems more practical for grates that are smaller and not as centrally located as ours...it sticks up so far that I'm sure someone would end up tripping over it. Iím tempted to just buy some space heaters and forget all about the central heating this winter, but before I do, I was wondering if anyone else had experienced, and solved, a similar problem (and, for that matter, if anyone had tips on using space heaters safely with a toddler in the house). Thanks! Grateful Mama
Here's my solution, which I didn't see posted yet.
1. Cheap baby gates from garage sales or Toys R Us. I used the pressure mounted wood ones with white plastic sides.
2. Cable ties (those clearish skinny pieces of plastic where one end loops into the other and "zips" shut, get some long ones, about 12 inches, and short ones, about 6 inches)
3. Eye screws (those screws with a "circle" at one end, at least one inch long)
Basically, you take the gates apart to use as fencing. You attach the panels to each other and to eyescrews (which you've drilled and screwed into the walls) with the cable ties. I have two floor heaters: one in a comer and one against the middle of the wall. This was a cheap, sturdy and fast solution and has withstood the test of toddlerhood! Jenne
This Thanksgiving I am going to have my entire family plus some of my sister's in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. Last night as I huddled over the grate on the floor over the heater and almost burnt myself (melted my boot), I realized how dangerous this was going to be for my little nephew who is 1 year old and recently walking! I imagine some of you with kids and old houses might have a heater like this one and may have some ideas on how to make it safe for the baby. P.S. This is the only heat source in the house and is located smack dab in the middle of the the area between the dining room and the living room ie. where everybody will be during the festivities.
Bananas has a sheet with information on how to build a wooden grate to cover such heaters. We had a heater just like this, and built a wooden framework over which we put metal screening (like on a window). Another alternative is wooden dowels. Not too hard to make and very effective--our toddler never got burned, even though it was next to his main play area.
Re: The hot floor heater grate. We have a grate like this. I was given a plan by Berkeley Pediatrics and built one and it works great. You need to build a square that will fit around the grate but not touch the metal. Use 1" X 9" pine boards for the square. Then drill out for and insert 3/4" dowel rods across the top edge. They should be no less or more that 3" apart to prevent head or limb entrapment. Then you can wire one of the dowels to the grate to keep it from moving around. I stapled cloth covered foam to the outer bottom to prevent toe stubbing as ours is also in a walking area. I built an upright one also for a friend with a wall heater. Its a bit of a strange look but very effective and about all you can do. I've seen people try to block the area with chairs etc. but you have to be really careful about anything that may catch fire. You can call Berkeley Pediatrics and see if they still have the diagrams available.
there are wooden heating grates in some of the older houses in Berkeley, and I don't think they heat up the way metal ones do. Expensive to have made, I had one made a long time ago, and don't remember where I had it done. Might check with McBeath Hardwood or Ashby Lumber for ideas on where to look for one or where to have one made.
you can build a wooden cage around the vent. the sides are wood and the top consists of wooden dowls with space inbetween each. the key is having it fit snuggly around the grate so the only way to get it off is by lifting it directly up. the cage is too big for a small child to lift. ours has kept our now ten and a half month old safe. bananas has a hand out on how to build one. the only modification i might make is lining the top (under the dowls) with somethings like mosquito netting so small objects can't be dropped through the spaces and onto/into the hot grate.
Bananas, the childcare referral service in Oakland, has a flyer with plans for a wooden grate cover, although their version is not as safe as I think it could be (a kid could stick a hand through if she was determined). We built a wooden box to fit around the grate and put wooden slats across the top, with a wire mesh under the slats so the baby couldn't drop things onto the hot grate (you could grill a steak on ours--it's directly over the furnace). When the wooden slats started to get charred (!) we raised the sides of the box to about a foot high (and we still got a nice/worrisome fireplace smell from the hot wood). You have to make sure nobody leaves stuff on top of the box or fires can start. You should probably avoid pressure-treated wood. I've read it has toxic chemicals that get released when it burns or, presumably, to some extent when it gets hot.
Re. heater grates, Bananas has a handout which gives ideas on how to build something yourself. Some friends with the same problem, had a carpenter buddy make a sturdy cedar box which fit over the grate. It had slits to let the heat out, served as a little table, and made the room smell nice= besides!
My husband covered our similar grate. He got the vinyl-covered metal shelving like some people install in closets. Even when the heater is on, it stays cool. Then, he attached them to the floor and to the walls with screws (there are little metal things designed to attach these shelf things to the walls of a closet. and attached them to each other with plastic ties. All of this can be purchased at Home Depot. It was not cheap--about $40 for all parts, but works great. Good luck.
I was wondering if anyone has tips for childproofing a wall heater. Ours gets hot enough to burn our one-year old, and we would like to childproof it before the winter. Thanks! Jennifer
I don't think ours is hot enough to give a terrible burn, or I wouldn't be so nonchalant, so your situation may be different. But in general, I've had more success getting my kids to treat potentially dangerous household appliances safely than blocking off access. lazy childproofer
Winter's coming, and I'm trying to assess the possible risk of wall heaters.
I've contacted the fire dept, PG&E, and numerous websites, and found no
specific information or assistance on this topic. Our small apartment is
heated by 2 different gas heaters. One is a wall unit, thermostat
controlled, with a metal vented grille cover. The bottom part opens near
floor level to provide access to pilot light. Can a child be burned by
touching the outside of a heater like this? or maybe by prying the cover
open? What's the best way to manage the risk -- are there gates that are
designed as barriers to wall heaters? Since I'm renting this unit and hope
to move in a few months, it will be difficult and costly to undertake an
expensive home construction project and/or hire home childproofing
consultants. I'd prefer to manage any risk by buying prefabricated gates if
The other wall unit heater unit has more of an open exposed heating source.
My preference here is to shut off this unit and buy an electric space
heater, like the Vornado style. However, I know space heaters have their
I'd love to hear comments from people who've dealt with the situation.
Thank you. I prefer to remain anonymous.
We have two gas wall heaters (ceiling to floor) that heat our house. Now that it is getting cold we want to turn them on but our 10 month old son loves to touch them and play around them. These heaters project from the wall 5 inches. We have not seen anything made commercially to keep babies (or toddlers) away from them. Has anyone found any solution to this problem? Phyllis and Michael
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