Are Baseboard Heaters Safe Around Children?
Child Safety is a common concern in homes that utilize baseboard heaters for space heating. Although Baseboarders® were developed to primarily address the need of making baseboard heaters look a whole lot nicer, the one-piece design has proven to also be an effective way of keeping flammable toys and little fingers away from the heating element. When it comes to safety, not all baseboard heaters are created equally. Hot water baseboard heaters operate at relatively lower temperatures and don't exhibit the wide-open cover design that electrical heaters do. When baseboard heaters make the news for all the wrong reasons, it usually involves an electric heater burning something it shouldn't. Here are some of the more common questions we receive about our decorative baseboard heater covers.
Frequently Asked Questions – Baseboard Heaters & Child Safety
- My baseboard radiators get really hot. Will Baseboarders® also get hot?
Yes, absolutely. Convection air current heating (such as baseboard) requires something to get hot and hold heat energy that the air currents can access. Although the heating element is obviously going to be very hot, the covers (typically made of steel) will also hold heat energy and play a significant role in the heating process. Baseboarders® are made of relatively thick gauge galvanized steel. They will get just as hot as the original covers. Baseboarders® should not be considered a cool-to-the-touch solution.
I have electric baseboard heaters. What are the known hazards specific to this type of heater?
Electric baseboard heaters operate at very high temperatures. Unlike hot water type finned tube element that normally runs below 100F, electric heaters can easily hit 180F on the surface of the cover. Electric baseboard heaters constantly pose a danger around young children. Using Baseboarders® will not protect against the high touch temperature of the covers. Electric heaters will burn skin if the cover is touched while the heater is in operation. Given this known danger, Baseboarders® are not to be used over electric baseboard heaters.
What can I do to make my electrical baseboard heaters safer around Children?
Our number one suggestion to make electric baseboard heaters safe is to replace them completely with a different method of heating. It's a radical and likely very costly suggestion, but there's no doubt that the folks who invented this heating method didn't consider child safety.
My baby is starting to crawl and the open gap at the bottom of the heater might attract her curious fingers. Can I block this part of the heater with something?
Indeed this is a potential safety hazard. The area where the floor and wall meet is where the slow moving cool air currents hang out. These air currents will eventually come into contact with the heating element and be propelled upward as heated air. Covering the lower portion of a baseboard heater is strictly prohibited, unless you would like your heaters to stop working. As described in the Features & Benefits page, air flow is the critical process that allows this type of heating to work. Blocking the lower (air in) or upper portion (air out) of the baseboard heater will effectively turn it off.