In cooler months, our thoughts turn to finding the most efficient way to keep our homes warm and toasty. While no electrical appliance should be considered as totally safe around young children, some space heaters are safer than others.
A convection heater is an excellent choice for a child's room because the heating elements are minimally exposed, particularly on models that don't include a fan. Fanless models, however, may not keep a room as warm as a convection heater with a reflector and fan.
Baseboard heaters work well in a child's room because they are attached to the bottom of the wall and cannot be knocked over. However, the heated air comes out through a duct or grill, and small children should be monitored to be sure they don't insert fingers or anything else into the openings.
Ceramic heaters are lightweight, portable, and operate by heating ceramic disks instead of metal coils. The heated disks give off heat, thereby warming the room. Ceramic heaters operate at lower temperatures, which makes them safer around children, but they may not keep a room as warm as other types of heaters.
Radiant heaters are more energy efficient than most, and include a function that cycles them off and on to maintain a consistent temperature. One drawback is that in many models, the heating elements are covered by a grille with wide openings that can get very hot. Wall-mounted units would be safest in a child's room.
No matter which type of space heater you choose, look for safety features like the UL seal of approval, automatic shut-offs, small grilles that don't allow tiny fingers to get inside them, enclosed heating elements, and wall-mounting. Instruct children to keep at least 3 feet away from space heaters, and avoid leaving children alone in a room with a space heater if possible.