Better secured fireplaces needed following toddler deaths

In the space of a few days two toddlers have died after fireplaces in their homes toppled over and crushed them.

A two-year-old boy died in Flintshire and a three-year-old girl died in Teeside, joining an excruciating number of children who die as a result of poorly fitted fireplaces. Whilst we are unable to comment on individual cases, often these heavy fireplaces are not securely fitted to the wall.

Fireplace Products urges all fireplace surround owners to fit their fireplaces securely to the wall and discourage children from climbing on them. A well fitted fireplace will not topple over, however many DIY fittings can see insufficient screws used or, in some cases, none at all.

In light of similar incidents last year, Fireplace Products reviewed all fireplace surrounds and now only supply fireplaces with appropriate fixings.

‘Deeply impacts our industry’

Director of Fireplace Products Reece Toscani said: “It is something that deeply impacts everyone within our industry every time we hear these devastating reports of children killed by fireplaces toppling over. Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of the children.

Not the fatal fireplace surround in question, but an example of a well fitted, secure surround
Not the fatal fireplace surround in question, but an example of a well fitted, secure surround

“We call on all owners of fireplaces to check that their fireplaces are securely fitted to the wall or chimney breast, and that they cannot be toppled. A reputable tradesperson is always the best option when it comes to installing a fireplace surround.”

Anyone looking for more information on this matter is urged to read the Health and Safety Executive’s 2013 safety bulletin on the risks to occupiers from the installation of modular, stone and artificial stone fireplace surrounds.

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