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The day before my surgery in November, my DS who is 3, climbed over the hearth gate that keeps the kids from touching our wood burning stove & put his hand directly on the stove while it had been burning firewood for several hours. That night was horrible, aside from me prepping for my surgery the following day (my skull/bone being removed from the infection), my DS burned his hand so badly that it blew up & filled w/ white blisters w/ in seconds.
My son has had many surgeries since birth, and I've seen him cry & in pain, but I can honestly say that regardless of all of that, this time was THE FIRST TIME I had EVER seen or heard that child scream in horror & in pain. I felt horrible. Here I have a gate, expensive to w/ stand heat, the gate is 2 feet or more outside of the stove that burns the wood & yet he still managed to get something (a small bucket) to jump over the gate & touch it.
I wanted to share this story b/c I consider myself on the extremes when it comes to child proofing, and to have that happen made me feel like THE WORST mother alive. The next day, after my surgery, I kept asking about him & his hand. He was fine, nothing had to be done in the ER (thank God) and since the blisters popped & skin has shed to the new skin.
Since then, I have NOT put the stove on, I am just too afraid. I watch my kids, but I can't watch them 24/7, it's impossible. There are times I have to run to the bathroom (which is when this happened), and or times that you have to get up to take a phone call. I thought the gate would prevent him or my LO from EVER being hurt, I was wrong.
If you have a fireplace, or wood burning stove "and" you have a gate to accommodate them, please be forewarned that regardless of how much you have "child-proofed" the situation, there are always exceptions.
I still have an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach thinking about it & after being in our house for over 4 years & the kids never having an issue up until Nov. of 09', I would have thought that we were "good" w/ that. I couldn't have been more wrong.