Heating vent on floor - how do I baby proof? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 05-24-2009, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We just moved to a new house (rental - actually very old, built in 1917) and the only heating vent for the entire house is on the floor in the dining room - which is one of our main rooms. It is a little over a foot wide by a little over 2 feet long. About 6 inches of legnth are along a wall but the rest is in the middle of the pathway to the living room. It gets pretty hot...DH burned his foot on it checking how hot it was. DD is almost 4 months. I just want to be prepared for when she starts crawling. I can't really think of anything to put on top or around it to keep her safe yet allow the vent to still function. Any ideas? I don't think it would be very easy to put a gate around it bc a gate would have to wrap around and won't have much walls to be up against. Thanks!

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#2 of 23 Old 05-24-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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can you post a pic? perhaps a laundry basket or something like that turned upside down on top of it? Is it possible to gate off the room completely?

Mom to Morgan 4-3-06 and announcing Baby Kelsey 4-11-10
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#3 of 23 Old 05-24-2009, 02:46 PM
 
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We have friends with the same kind of heating system. Anything you put on it will melt, it gets that hot. Good Luck.
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#4 of 23 Old 05-24-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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I would get one of those free standing baby gate systems and put it around it.

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#5 of 23 Old 05-24-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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That's what I would do. My grandma had a floor furnace and put a gate around it for us.

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#6 of 23 Old 05-24-2009, 10:14 PM
 
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Can you block it off with furniture? Maybe chairs around it? The table over it?

You could put a play yard around it, but that's a pricey solution ($150-$200, I think). And it might take up too much of your dining room.

Otherwise I'd gate off the room when you're not in there and just watch her like a hawk when you are there.

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#7 of 23 Old 05-25-2009, 09:02 AM
 
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I'd also check to see how hot the vent actually gets. We have floor vents all over our house (1928) and they don't actually get hot at all. In fact on a cold day everyone fights over who gets to sit on the warm vent.

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#8 of 23 Old 05-25-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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Check out the Hearth Gate by Kidco. You can attach both ends to the same wall, and it's specially coated so it doesn't heat up.

And, please, DO put a gate around it. If it's like the one in my mom's house, your child can actually burn her feet when it's OFF, just because of the pilot light, even if the metal is cool. Ask me how I know. ;-) (Actually, I don't remember; I was 18 months at the time... but my mom put her hand on the metal to check if it was cool before taking down the gate, so she thought I was just crying because there was a closed door in front of me. I had bandages on my feet for weeks. They were asking all kinds of questions at the hospital, too, to figure out if they needed to call CPS.)
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#9 of 23 Old 05-25-2009, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess a gate it is. Thanks for the suggestions on types. I did read online that vents shouldn't get hot enough to burn and if they do they need to be checked. So I'm going to mention it to the landlord and see if he can have the heater looked at. It's not hot while off but my husband did burn himself on it while it was on and he claims it melted his flip flop! I'm thinking a gate around it if it will work is the best option since the dining room has to be walked through to get to the bedrooms and the kitchen from the front door.

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#10 of 23 Old 05-25-2009, 01:57 PM
 
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It may not be a "vent" though. The one that we had was an actual floor furnace. The furnace is in the basement, right under the grate, and the grate lets the hot air rise up into the house. Which is why the pilot light was an issue for us.

BTW, the house this was in was built in 1929. The house I live in now was built in 1923 and originally had the same type of furnace; there's a patch in the floor where it used to be ;-). We're fortunate that it was ducted for central heat and a/c over 30 years ago, though.
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#11 of 23 Old 05-25-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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You might be able to successfully teach your dc about it. We taught our crawling and toddling children about the woodstoves at my parents' house. You can put their hands near to feel the heat and say hot over and over and "ouch!" "no touch!". They avoid them completely. If you do not have a cautious dc I would definitely gate it to be safe, though they would probably only get burned once. Also it's important to teach them the word hot if they ever do touch something hot. In my kids' case they listened very carefully to that word from that time on.
They were both close to 1 by the time they had to be around the hot woodstoves and were mobile, so it may not work the same with a younger baby.
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#12 of 23 Old 05-25-2009, 09:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by plantmama View Post
You might be able to successfully teach your dc about it. We taught our crawling and toddling children about the woodstoves at my parents' house. You can put their hands near to feel the heat and say hot over and over and "ouch!" "no touch!". They avoid them completely. If you do not have a cautious dc I would definitely gate it to be safe, though they would probably only get burned once. Also it's important to teach them the word hot if they ever do touch something hot. In my kids' case they listened very carefully to that word from that time on.
They were both close to 1 by the time they had to be around the hot woodstoves and were mobile, so it may not work the same with a younger baby.
I'm sorry, but I would never trust this, especially with a wood stove. Sure they could never touch it on purpose, but kids fall down and knock each other into stuff ALL THE TIME. I could never forgive myself if something happened.

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#13 of 23 Old 05-25-2009, 11:32 PM
 
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You should be aware that if it is a floor furnace (if it's the only heat grate in the house, it likely is) that floor furnaces are a major source of carbon monoxide poisonings. At the very least, I would install a CO alarm directly above the furnace and get one of those multi-wall baby gate systems to completely block it off.

We had one in our house prior to it's remodeling, but we never turned it on after our DD was born. We had oil radiators (electrically-powered) in the bedrooms to compensate for the lack of heat.
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#14 of 23 Old 05-26-2009, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That is our only vent in the house. It's controlled by a thermastat in the living room. Scary about the carbon monoxide! I've been wanting to make sure we have a detector anyway. There is something that *may* be one in that room but I don't know? I should ask the landlord. It's a rectangle shaped box...doesn't look like the typical round smoke detector which is in the hall a few feet away.

The vent heats most of the house but since we close our bedroom door to keep the cats out (baby is still in our room) we sometimes use a vornado space heater as well.

Cindy

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#15 of 23 Old 05-26-2009, 01:56 AM
 
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Depending on what state you're in, your landlord may be required by law to have a CO detector installed and tested annually. If there's not one there already, I'd research your local laws to see what's required.

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#16 of 23 Old 05-26-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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I guess a gate it is. Thanks for the suggestions on types. I did read online that vents shouldn't get hot enough to burn and if they do they need to be checked.
We have the same thing - house built in 1911, grate in the open between the LR and DR. And it's a furnace, not just a heater vent - the entire furnace is hanging right under the grate. My husband has actually melted the soles of his slippers on it... the grid melted right THROUGH the entire sole before I smelled it and pulled him off of it. I had to stick the slipper back together while it was still hot (they were brand new slippers).

The cat likes to sleep on it when it's off - the pilot light keeps it warm year-round. As soon as it clicks on though, she has to get off, it's so hot. And I've been wondering what we were going to do about it, also. Guess I'll look for a play yard.

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#17 of 23 Old 05-26-2009, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok I e-mailed my landlord and it is in fact a furnace. He is going to see if they can turn it down but thinks it will always be hot when on. He is also coming next week to install carbon monoxide detectors bc we don't have any. :-)

Cristeen: My cat likes to sleep on it when it's warm too. They both know not to step on it when they're running around though.

Cindy

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#18 of 23 Old 05-26-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by plantmama View Post
You might be able to successfully teach your dc about it. We taught our crawling and toddling children about the woodstoves at my parents' house. You can put their hands near to feel the heat and say hot over and over and "ouch!" "no touch!". They avoid them completely. If you do not have a cautious dc I would definitely gate it to be safe, though they would probably only get burned once. Also it's important to teach them the word hot if they ever do touch something hot. In my kids' case they listened very carefully to that word from that time on.
They were both close to 1 by the time they had to be around the hot woodstoves and were mobile, so it may not work the same with a younger baby.
my dd was 13 months. this is what i did. by then she already knew about 'hot'. our heater was a foot from teh wall so i put a table in front of it and left the two sides open. those two sides were the opening. when the heat was blowing you could feel it from a distance. so dd never ever went close to it. just the quantity of heat it gave out was its saving grace. i made sure there was no play things in that area except that table.

we never had an accident there. but then i had just one child too.

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#19 of 23 Old 05-26-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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We have these too. They are a drag! By the time DD was mobile the heat was off but there are directions online for a cover. We are renting and if we are here in the winter we'll build these. I don't know how well they work but thought I'd mention them. I wanted to add that I think a good place for a CO detector is by your bed at the height of your head. That was where the gas technicians at the gas co. I worked for recommended they be placed. Good luck.

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#20 of 23 Old 05-27-2009, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mayfly: Thank you! I bet DH could make one of those. He was trying to think of a non melting material to concoct something out of. Incidentally, the store where the instructions are from is very close to my house. Small world.

Cindy

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#21 of 23 Old 05-27-2009, 01:37 AM
 
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although we do not have floor heat vents we have the old radiator type ones which also get very hot. DH made radiator covers from directions he found online. They help tremendously so perhaps something simiar (more box shaped left on the floor over the grate) can help.
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#22 of 23 Old 05-27-2009, 02:28 AM
 
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my dd was 13 months. this is what i did. by then she already knew about 'hot'. our heater was a foot from teh wall so i put a table in front of it and left the two sides open. those two sides were the opening. when the heat was blowing you could feel it from a distance. so dd never ever went close to it. just the quantity of heat it gave out was its saving grace. i made sure there was no play things in that area except that table.

we never had an accident there. but then i had just one child too.
I was also an only child. And I knew the heater was hot. But it didn't feel hot when I first got on it; you could put your hand right on it and be fine. I was standing there for several minutes before it started to burn, and I had blisters all over the bottoms of my feet.

VeganPrincess, if your furnace is thermostat-controlled, there's probably not a lot your landlord can do to turn it "down." However, if you do invest in a hearth gate or something like that, you might want to see if you can pro-rate the cost out of your rent, with the agreement that you'll leave it with the place when you move.
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#23 of 23 Old 05-27-2009, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good idea Ironica. I'll ask my landlord. :-)

Cindy

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