Are Space Heaters Safe for a Baby's Room?

Written by lee morgan
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Are Space Heaters Safe for a Baby's Room?
Space heaters are a significant fire hazard and should not be in a baby's room. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Using a space heater in a baby's room is rarely a good idea, with very few exceptions. Space heaters are supplemental heating units that are meant to warm certain rooms in a home that are otherwise not provided with enough heat for comfort. Adding a space heater to a baby's bedroom can be dangerous in many different ways.

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Burns

The first danger associated with space heaters in a baby's room is the potential for burns. Many space heaters create heat inside using electric coils or gas flames, but the outside of the space heater often gets hot as well. On some models, the outside can be as hot as a stove eye. This external heat can cause severe burns to a baby's skin if he investigates the device and decides to touch it -- which he inevitably will if he is not under close supervision at all times. Space heaters that are cool to the touch on the outside pose less of a burn risk, but they can still be dangerous as small children can stick hands and fingers inside the units to the hot area or spinning fans. Access to any space heaters in the home should be blocked from babies and toddlers.

Fires

No matter where a space heater is located in the home it causes an increase risk of fire. According to the Harvard Environmental Health and Safety website, more than 25,000 residential fires and 300 deaths result from the use of space heaters each year. This is a threat to your baby and the rest of your family. The use of a space heater in the baby's room could mean a fire will start in the baby's room, making the baby the first person in danger and the most difficult to reach.

Fumes

Electric space heaters have their own specific set of associated hazards, but propane space heaters may have the most deadly hazards. A propane space heater has all the burn and fire hazards of the other types of space heaters, in addition to the fumes from a gas flame. When the fuel burns, it creates carbon monoxide, a colourless and odourless gas that can kill children and adults in their sleep if not properly ventilated. Also, gas fumes that continue to be released if a flame blows out can be just as deadly.

With Adults Only

The only time a space heater is safe in a baby's room is when a trusted adult is in the room with the baby as well. This way an adult can make sure the baby doesn't get near the heater and get burnt and can grab the baby and escape quickly in the event of a fire. Never leave a baby in a room with a space heater unattended, even for a moment.

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