Children need to know about fire safety because fire can occur unexpectedly. A child may have the instinct to run for his parents, grab his pet or special belongings or hide in a corner from fire, making him more susceptible to injury or death. Go over important facts about fire prevention and escape with your children. Make sure they know how to follow all basic safety precautions. Make sure every member in your family knows what to do in the event of a fire.
The best way to practice fire safety is to prevent a fire from breaking out. Simple, routine practices can make prevention easy and fun. Check potential hazards by scanning your home as a family. Be sure you have a working smoke detector; smoke detectors cut the chance of a fatal fire in half, according to the KidsHealth website. Check electrical appliances and make sure outlets and cords are in good condition. Wires should never be loose, frayed or discoloured. Outlets should not be overloaded with devices. If possible, plug only one or two appliances in at a time so that outlets do not become overstressed. Electrical wires should never run under rugs or touch other flammable objects, such as bed sheets or clothing. Outlets may be covered with plastic safety covers, especially in a house with very young children. Children should always be accompanied by parents when checking electrical appliances and should never touch a potentially dangerous set-up.
The number of residential fires rises during colder months, peaking from December to February, the KidsHealth site says. Families tend to use fireplaces, space heaters and other heating devices more often in winter. No matter how cautious a family is, these devices pose certain hazards. Children should be taught to safely use appliances that could cause fires. A child should never operate a space heater in a room by herself, and other methods of heat should be used while she is sleeping. Home fires start most frequently in the kitchen while cooking, so children should never cook alone. Children should be taught safety precautions in the kitchen, such as remembering to turn the stove off, keeping towels and other flammable materials far away from the stove, and how to safely turn off power to the kitchen at the breaker if an appliance sparks.
Cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of fire deaths in the United States and Canada, the KidsHealth site notes. Fires started by cigarettes kill about 1,000 people every year. Teach children about the dangers associated with cigarettes and how to act around adults who smoke. Cigarette ash can cause fires if not put out properly. Matches and lighters, which kids may want to play with, are the leading cause of fire-related deaths in kids younger than 5, according to KidsHealth.
Having an escape plan is an important aspect of fire safety. Families often forget to create a fire escape plan or may not involve their children in the creation of that plan. Families should walk through the house together and talk about what they will do in the event of a fire. Check for several possible routes in case one of them is blocked. Kids should know that fires sometimes prevent parents from reaching them in the house, so they should get out through a planned escape route as quickly as possible. Because kids often have the instinct to hide from a fire, they should know that fires spread quickly and that the only thing they have to do when a fire occurs is get out safely. There should be a safe meeting point outside the home where parents will reunite with their children once they have escaped. Children should be advised not to grab or wait for anything, including pets.