More than half of all child fire related deaths in the United States involve children age 4 and under. Generally speaking, as kids get older, their chances of being killed or injured in a fire go down. So what can parents do to make sure they’re teaching their little ones fire safety and prevention?
Communication is key. Often, simply sitting your young children down and teaching or showing them why fires are so dangerous can have a strong effect. Kids tend to retain information much better when the “why” is explained rather than a long lecture.
Identify Fire Hazards
When you take the time to not only talk about why fires are dangerous, but also reinforce this talk by showing your kids examples of hazards, it will help them better recognize these hazards. Since many fire hazards are in the kitchen, start there. Talk about hot stovetops, ovens and other appliances. For small children, it’s best to alert them that the stove is hot, but as they get older and begin to use the stove themselves, you’ll want to discuss safety precautions in more depth.
Other hazards in the home might include the following:
Irons including hair curling irons and straighteners
Low lights and lamps
It’s been shown that children as young as 2 have been able to strike a match and start a fire. Start teaching and training your children early on to avoid any mishaps.
Use Games to Practice
Fire and smoke alarms might make us feel better as adults, but what do they really mean to a child other than a loud noise? You can help your child learn what those sounds mean by coming up with a fire alarm routine and then practicing it with them. Making a fire drill into a game will help kids more fully grasp the concept and the routine. You might start by helping them understand the difference between a smoke alarm and a fire alarm. Teach them an evacuation plan and have them practice it. Be consistent when it comes to safe meeting spots outside.
Games can also work to help children more willingly participate in learning Stop, Drop And Roll techniques. Be sure to point out that this important safety can prevent serious injuries, even when just a small part of clothing is on fire. Remind them to cover their face with their hands.
Unfortunately, fires don’t always happen in the home. So even if you feel you’ve done your best to prepare your kids for a fire at home, they may still face risk at school or daycare centers. It’s always a good idea to check with these places to ensure they have adequate fire safety plans in place.