Fire Pit Safety for Kids and Pets

A backyard fire pit can transform your outdoor space into a warm, welcoming place for family gatherings. Gazing into glowing flames under starry nights creates lasting memories. However, safety should be the utmost priority when using fire pits, especially with children and pets around. With caution and preparation, you can ensure your fire pit provides enjoyment, not injury.

The Allure and Risks of Fire Pits for Kids and Pets

It’s easy to understand the appeal of owning your own fire pit. Sitting around the flickering flames lets you utilise your yard into the evening and sets a relaxing mood. The mesmerising glow draws people in.

Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over an outdoor fire pit is often considered a quintessential family experience. Both gas and wood fire pits allow you to craft the perfect ambience for entertaining or enjoying quiet nights at home.


However, outdoor fire pits also pose some inherent risks that families must be aware of. Hot surfaces pose dangers of burns for curious toddlers. Embers popping out from wood fire pits could land on children sitting close by.

The enticing flames themselves tempt kids to move or reach dangerously close. Even after a fire appears completely extinguished, partially buried logs and coals can remain extremely hot for hours, posing risks if accidentally touched. Smoke inhalation or airborne ashes can also cause issues for children and pets.

Some other potential dangers include:

  • Flying sparks landing on little ones
  • Pets or children accidentally falling into the pit
  • Fire spreading if left unattended
  • Damage to home if the pit is too close to walls or wooden fences

Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips for Protecting Kids and Pets

While fire pits do require caution, there are ways for families to prioritise safety while enjoying their backyard fire. Follow these tips:

Supervise Children Near Fire Pits

First and foremost, actively supervise children anytime a backyard fire pit is burning. Do not leave kids alone near an active or recently extinguished fire pit. Ensure children understand they must remain at least 3 feet away from the flames.

Gently remind straying kids to move back. Teach them to avoid dangerous behaviours like throwing toys into the fire. Always supervise pets around fire pits as well.

Prep Your Pit Properly

Choose a professionally constructed fire pit made of heavy materials like stone, concrete, or steel. Portable fire bowls allow you to store the pit safely when not in use. Select a UL/CSA-approved model with stable construction for gas fire pits.

The pit area should be flat, level ground, at least 10 feet from structures. Surround the pit with non-combustible materials like sand or bricks. Have a fire extinguisher and hose/bucket of water nearby. Check local burn regulations for guidance.

Prioritise Fire Pit Safety

When using your backyard fire pit, prioritise safety with every decision. Never leave a burning fire unattended. Avoid horseplay around the pit.

Allow fires to die down entirely before leaving. After extinguishing the fire, do not allow children or pets back in the area until the pit is completely cooled.

Follow all manufacturer instructions and local burn bans. Teach children to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothing ignites and remind them to stay back from the flames. Set clear expectations and lead by example.

Choosing the Right Backyard Fire Pit

If you’re looking to add a fire pit to your yard, consider these popular styles:

Portable Fire Pits

These versatile bowls allow you to move the fire pit anywhere in your yard or store it away when unused. Portable pits often run on propane tanks or wood. Models with mesh screens help contain sparks.

In-Ground Fire Pits

For a permanent option, choose an in-ground masonry or pre-fabricated fire pit. Line the inside with firebrick or non-combustible materials to contain the fire. In-ground pits create minimal smoke and ember escapes.


Latin-inspired chimineas have an oven shape perfect for heating the patio. The chimney design promotes good airflow. Add a spark screen for safety.

Gas Fire Pits

Choose an EPA-certified gas fire pit running on natural gas or propane. Gas pits provide ambience and warmth with the convenience of push-button ignitions. Select durable metals like aluminium or steel.

Fire Tables

Fire tables double as a stylish patio table when not lit. Look for sturdy models with included weather-resistant covers, spark screens, and reliable safety features.

Special Considerations for Pets

Our furry friends also need some extra precautions around backyard fire pits. Ensure pets are leashed and housed indoors or in another closed-off yard during fire pit use. Smoke and embers can frighten pets. Paws can easily get burned on hot ashes or coals after the fire.

After ensuring the fire is fully extinguished, let the fire pit completely cool before letting pets back around the area. Train pets to avoid hot pits and supervise all interactions. Protect sensitive paw pads by applying a pet-safe paw wax before allowing them outside.

Teaching Fire Safety to Kids

The number one line of defence against fire pit injuries is educating children on vital fire safety. Take advantage of time around the fire to explain key lessons in a relaxed setting. Teach kids to stop, drop, and roll if clothing or hair ever catches fire. Demonstrate how to properly sit near the pit, use roasting sticks, and avoid getting too close.

Turn lessons into games by quizzing children to see if they remember the rules. Give frequent reminders about fire dangers and have them repeat phrases like "fire is hot". Lead by example with your own actions around the family fire. With patience and consistency, kids develop lifelong skills to enjoy fires safely.

Relaxing Backyard Evenings with Peace of Mind

Safety may require some extra planning, but families still enjoy quality time around a warm, crackling fire pit. Based on your yard setup and the age of the children present, take the proper precautions.

With common sense, the right fire pit, active supervision, and education, you can create lifelong memories through the magical glow of the flames. Contact Garden Depot today if you need help selecting the perfect fire pit for your family’s backyard.


Are fire pits safe?

Fire pits can absolutely be safe if proper precautions are taken. Choose a well-constructed, enclosed pit, keep it at least 10 feet from structures, never leave a fire unattended, fully extinguish embers, and actively supervise children and pets around the pit. You can safely enjoy a backyard fire pit with common sense safety measures.

How far should a fire pit be from my house?

It’s recommended to keep fire pits at least 10-20 feet away from your home or any structures, trees, or fences. This creates a safe zone to contain sparks.

What material should I use to build my fire pit?

Construct your pit from non-combustible materials like concrete, stone, or heavyweight steel. Line the inside with firebricks or sand. This helps insulate fires and prevent spreading.

What safety accessories do I need for my fire pit?

Have a fire extinguisher, water hose, or bucket nearby to extinguish fires quickly. After spending an evening next to the fire, a good rule of thumb is to dunk the flames with water until the hissing sound dies out. Spark screens help contain embers. Fire pit lids or covers are useful when not in use.

Should I get a gas or wood-burning fire pit?

Gas fire pits provide convenience and cleaner burns but may be more expensive. Wood-burning fire pits give a traditional ambience but require more safety steps for embers and ash. Either can be safe if used properly.

How can I safely extinguish a backyard fire pit?

Allow the wood to burn down to embers completely. Douse the remaining embers thoroughly with water. Move rocks or logs with a shovel to expose buried coals and douse those as well. Check that all smoke and steam have ceased.

How do I involve kids safely around the fire pit?

Supervise children at all times around the fire. Teach them fire safety rules like not getting too close. Show them how to sit near the fire properly, roast food, and avoid dangerous behaviours. Make safety lessons interactive and give frequent reminders.

Should pets be allowed near the fire pit?

It’s best to keep pets safely away from active fire pits and hot coals or ashes after use. Supervise all pet interactions with extinguished pits and train them to avoid the area. Never leave pets unattended around a fire.

Fire pits