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Fireguard disagreement(38 Posts)
MIL stayed with us over weekend. She has now left (lives other end country) and DH has told me she phoned him early this morning to say she has not slept all night worrying about DS coming to harm by our open gas fire. DS is 2 1/2 and generally quite a bright little thing who understands when things might harm him and seems to know when to stay away.
DH has brought nome fireguard a few weeks ago on request MIL and he assembled it. I found it to be a ugly monstrosity which took up space and made it difficult for grown ups to access fire too. I took it down and we did not think more about it till MIL came again just now.
Note DS has never tried touch fire- he does approach it and look at us cheekily inviting us to say no and this seems to work. I would never leave him unattended with fire lit.
But I think this issue has deeper roots then a disagreement over a fire guard.
I often feel I can never keep my child safe enough in MILs eyes. When she is with him she is never more then an arms length away, it took her a while to feel comfortable with him being able to manage stairs without support, solids which are not mush etc etc. She admitted when he was born that would always feel the need to protect him etc she did not sleep for a few nights after he was born as she was so worried about DS and his care...
DH sort of understands where I am coming from and asked if it would be ok to erect fire guard just when she visits then take it down again!!
I am left rather confused as to what to do- on the one hand I truely think DS will be ok without the guard but on the other I feel that I am being negligent just for sake of proving a point...
So... What do people think about fire guards?
Are they absolutely necessary?
Would anyone dare admit they have an open fire without one (and have a toddler)??
Do you think It is ok for me to stand my grounds about this issue??
After watching the 24 hours in A & E where the poor girl aged about 5 stumbled near the fire and ended up with horrific burns, I think shopping around for a more aesthetically pleasing fire guard would be the ideal solution.
All it takes is a tiny trip and the fact that you aren't leaving him unattended as such becomes irrelevant.
It's not just about touching it willing though, is it? Kids of that age jump around, they run, they trip. DD used to fall onto the fire guard a lot, just because she was never still. I hate to think of what would have happened if we didn't have the guard there.
I'd definitely use a fire guard. We had a wood burner when DSs were small and still used one. I don't think it ever did save them from falling against the hot metal burner, but then again I could leave them in the room playing whilst I was in the kitchen so maybe I just didn't see. I was just as worried about DHs unstable DM and DGM who could have lost their balance and burned themselves too.
The issue with an over-responsible and over-anxious MIL is another story. Even if she is these things, in this case she has a point and it may settle her a bit on other matters if you act on it. Go shopping for a prettier one. We found a lovely one in TK Max.
Fire and water (or heat and water) and cars are, imo & ime, things that require absolute safety measures.
The risks are so rarely going to be minimal if an accident happens.
When the results are more likely to be skin grafts, permanent disability or death then one can't trust to luck. Because even the best behaved toddler can't control a slip, the corner of a blankie/nighty/superhero cape being blown by a breeze or swung round, a toy bouncing - it does come down to luck.
This particular issue would surely be spiting your face.
Your mil needs to get a grip though - at first I thought she had a point (what with the unsecured fire) but this started almost before you got him all the way here. Sadly it makes anything that person says difficult to filter. Agree I see no obvious slight in her talking to your DH but it does sound like this is part of a bigger problem, namely her not treating you respectfully as a parent - did it feel more like running to tell tales?
Sort out the 'tudes and hopefully, if this is the biggest issue, you can have a good relationship that you may come to really value.
I'm another, 'you need a fireguard'. You say you always keep an eye on DS- It's only human to take your eye off, be distracted by phone, door etc, and it would only take a split second for him to trip into fire. This is not something to decide to be stubborn/ into aesthetics about.
My MIL is a worrier and a hoverer too. I used to have to suppress the urge to yell "FFS, Leave her be, stop mithering her". My DCs are now 9yo and 4yo and are not slow in telling their GM to back off when she is cramping their style, so I can sit back and leave them all to it.
But you do need a proper fireguard.
Damn, thought The Fall had released a new album...
My in laws have a removable one. It clips to the wall when fire in use, then can be unclipped and folded flat when not in use.
Could be a compromise.
The only thing that is important is your ds's safety. You know what the risks are, why take them with the most precious thing in you life?
How the fireguard looks, the inconvenience of it, and your MIL's way of raising her concerns are totally separate and/or irrelevant.
Please use the fireguard.
<fondly remembers binning the biggest, ugliest fireguard ever when ds was 6>
I would get a fire guard, I think they are very important. Your MIL sounds like she has some issues that need addressing though IMO, this line really stood out to me:
she did not sleep for a few nights after he was born as she was so worried about DS and his care...
We had (have) a gas fire/real flames type thing. I literally haven't had it on since ds1 started to move (he's 5 now). I think we'll probably have moved house before we do so again! So, that's one way to avoid a fire guard I suppose! (It is sunken into the wall, no hearth to trip on).
Please use a fireguard. Surely keeping a small child safe is more important than it 'looking ugly' ?
I suspect she speaks more directly to her son than you, because she's a MNer who has read some of the million and one threads on here each month, written by MNers whinging about their MiLs, and saying "She's always interfering / she's always criticising me" or "Why does she think it's my responsibility, and not speak to dh?"
Please please use a fire guard. Yes they're ugly and what not but that's secondary to its main role. Accidents happen, children trip and fall and you would never ever forgive yourself if it did. I've seen a family torn apart by a supervised child tripping and their clothing catching alight. That little girls burns will stay with me forever. I don't mean to be dramatic but it does happen and even if its a small risk the consequences are too much.
And I think your mil can't win - if she spoke to you directly i think you'd take it to heart and feel like she was directly criticising you. She probably feels like she's doing the nicer thing by talking to her son.
^ agree with what's been said by pictish and FriedSprout.
I think your mil is right. We had a huge fireguard which was a monstrosity but the H & S advice is to have a fireguard. Toddlers can trip up.
So you are unwilling to get a fireguard because your mil chose to speak to her own son about her concerns?
I should imagine she is not telling you directly because she is trying her best not to step on your feet and upset you. If she spoke dirctly to you about this then that might lead you to think that she is accusing you of neglect, or her of interferring. I think the very last thing she wants to happen is her son to go home and say "my mums thinks...". She just wants to her son to start a discussion with you.
Think she is trying to be a good non-interfering mil
Not that she shouldn't raise it with you...but it's to be expected that your dh will be her first point of contact. Iyswim?
And please...don't resent the fact that she spoke to her son. He's her son...that's his mum. That's her son's baby she is worried about. It's healthy and correct that she should raise it with him, rather than you.
I think a fireguard is a must have for that age too. We had one. I loathed it, but it stayed until the kids were much surer on their feet. I still have one, but a more attractive, smaller one now. We started off with the all encompassing monstrosity though. Couldn't not have.
Anything could happen whether he touches the fire or not. He could trip over a toy and stumble into it for a start! He might throw or drop something into it by accident. You never know!
Your mil was right to raise it with her son. She is thnking about the safety of your child.
No it ok I said open fire - we have only recently moved in here and not that clued up with all the types of fires...
Re why shouldn't she speak to her son about it?
She is never open with me about any of her anxieties. I can guess them all though and the lack of communication creates more tensions.
I constantly feel undermined and excluded by her.
That is why I was upset.
Oops,sorry - must read post properly!
Still would use the fireguard though....
No logs- sorry its a gas fire. It's quite contained. No sparks...
tbh I learned my lesson that even when you haven't got a fire going a fireguard is a good idea (it's quite amazing how far ash can go in a very short space of time....)
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