Chapter Thirty-Four: Fire Safety Tips for Kids

When children get older, they begin to comprehend much more of what each thing does in the house and in the kitchen. Once they reach this age, many parents find this a good time to teach them about fire safety and 911.

Being Proactive About Fire Safety

It is essential for parents to take the time to teach their children about being proactive and taking safety into their own hands when they have done something or when they see something is not right in the house. Many schools will teach your children about who to call when in danger and how, but reinforcing these drills and educative measures can really help your child remember the right thing to do when in need. Teaching them to prevent fires, telling them where you keep the fire extinguisher, how to attempt to put out a fire and what to do if they catch on fire are key components of this education. In addition, reinforcing what school has taught them can also help them remember. As most schools put a lot of money into this type of education by bringing in fire fighters and police officers, as well as having hands-on training drills with the kids, they are even more likely to remember these tactics when parents also teach them. If parents take what their kids learned in school and add onto it at home, they can be sure to provide good safety education for their children. In addition to kitchen, burn, and fire safety, there are a lot of safety measures for bedrooms and other rooms in the house that schools don’t teach that should be of concern for parents.

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Bedroom Fire Safety

With every child’s house and room being different, schools cannot really teach kids about safety tips for their bedrooms; that is where parents take full control. The biggest risks for kids’ rooms are falling objects and electrical fires. Again, placing simple covers on electrical outlets can prevent fires or electrical shock. These covers can be purchased at many home department stores, or even grocery stores. They are fairly inexpensive, and can make the home look cleaner, as well as safer. Try to not have any large old lamps, lava lamps, heaters, or improperly wired nightlights in your child’s bedroom as well. These things use a lot of electricity, making them big fire hazards in the home. Always make sure to check for proper wiring in the home, and in the bedrooms, as well as keep smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors up to date. While it is difficult to watch over your child at all times, taking the necessary precautions can tremendously decrease the chances of injury and/or fire. Educating your children on home safety and the dangers of their actions is instrumental in keeping your child, and your home, safe at all times.

Curious Kids Set Fires

Children under five are curious about fire. Often what begins as a natural exploration of the unknown can lead to tragedy.

  • Children ages 0-14 and under make up 15% of all fire deaths.1
  • Fifty-four percent of all child fire deaths occur to those under age 5.1 These children are usually unable to escape from a fire independently.
  • At home, children usually play with fire in bedrooms, in closets and under beds. These are "secret" places where there are a lot of things that catch fire easily.
  • Too often, child fire-setters are not given proper guidance and supervision by parents and teachers. Consequently, they repeat their fire-setting behavior.

Practice Fire Safety in Your Home

  • Supervise young children closely. Do not leave them alone even for short periods of time.
  • Keep matches and lighters in a secured drawer or cabinet.
  • Have your children tell you when they find matches and lighters.
  • Check under beds and in closets for burned matches, evidence your child may be playing with fire.
  • Develop a home fire escape plan, practice it with your children and designate a meeting place outside.
  • Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
  • Teach children the nature of fire. It is FAST, HOT, DARK and DEADLY!
  • Teach children not to hide from firefighters, but to get out quickly and call for help from another location.
  • Show children how to crawl low on the floor, below the smoke, to get out of the house and stay out in the case of fire.
  • Demonstrate how to stop, drop to the ground and roll if their clothes catch fire.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level in your home.
  • Familiarize children with the sound of your smoke alarm.
  • Test the smoke alarm each month and replace the battery at least once a year.
  • Replace the smoke alarm every ten years, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. Remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.

It is important to be aware of these dangers to your children and take the necessary steps to try and prevent them.