5 Tips for Teaching Kids to Light a Fireplace Safely

A warm, crackling wood fire in the fireplace is the perfect backdrop to a family night at home. As you go to get the fire started, it’s possible you’ve got a couple of eager helpers around. There’s no need to cringe when you hear, “Can I help?” You can use this as an opportunity to teach your kids some important lessons in fire safety. Use these five tips for teaching kids to light a wood fireplace safely with adult supervision.

 #1. No Adult, No Fire

The very first rule to teach your children is that if a parent or adult isn’t around, they aren’t allowed to use the fireplace. Yes, you’re teaching them how to safely light a wood fireplace, but without adult supervision, it’s a no-go. 

#2. Set Up for Success 

You can’t start a wood fire without the right materials. Show your child the difference between starters, kindling and firewood and have it nearby before you ever get started. Next, arrange it so the starter is on the bottom of the fire bed, the kindling is next, and the firewood is stacked on top of it. Be sure to leave plenty of space for airflow! Start out with only a few pieces of firewood. You can always add more if you need it later. You don’t need to use a starter, but there are some fun DIY starters on Pinterest the kids can help make with dryer lint or pinecones.

#3. Open the Damper/Flue Before Starting a Fire

Oxygen is key to fueling the fire and also allows smoke to exit through the chimney. Opening the damper allows oxygen into the fireplace to get the fire going and keep it burning. Always be sure to open it before you burn, and close it again once the fire is completely cold.

#4. Light the Fire

Use long matchsticks to ensure little hands can stay as far from the fire as possible. Be sure they put the lit match down toward the kindling so that it can light and then ignite the firewood. 

If the fire isn’t taking off quite as quickly as you’d like, it can be tempting to use other methods to speed up the process. If your child is getting frustrated that the firewood hasn’t turned into a crackling fire yet, share a word of caution with them. Make sure your child knows to never use lighter fluid, lighter or any other flammable materials to help light a fireplace inside. 

 #5. While It Burns

Children can be very eager to add more wood to the fire. Let them know that a new piece of firewood is only needed every couple of hours. For small children, consider setting a timer to help them know when it’s time for more firewood. Otherwise, you might be asked, “Is it time yet?” frequently over the next two hours. 

This is also a perfect time to teach them some basics while the fireplace is burning.  

  • Never leave a fireplace unattended while it’s burning.
  • Surfaces around the fireplace can be hot to the touch. Use appropriate tongs and gloves.
  • Keep pets away from the fireplace.
  • If a piece of wood falls or shifts while burning, never reach in with your hands. Always use the proper fireplace tools and accessories to tend the fire. 

These five tips for teaching kids to light a fireplace safely will set your child up for success. If you’re ready to add a fireplace to your home, contact IHT Hot Tubs & Fireplaces or go to our wood fireplace page. Since 1978, IHT Hot Tubs & Fireplaces has proudly served the Denver, Colorado, area. Our wide selection of styles for gas, electric, including Kozy Heat fireplaces, and wood-burning options ensures you’ll find the perfect fireplace for your home. Call us today at 303-296-7727 or ask for your free quote and learn about our incredible selection!

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