By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.
Residential fires claim the lives of 4,000 people each year and injure 18,500 more. Every year children start up to 100,000 fires. These fires are responsible for property damage, injury and even death. Make sure your children know what to do to prevent accidental fires and how to react if a fire should occur.
Here are some tips that can help you keep your children safe from fire:
- Never place blankets, toys, towels, clothes, or anything on top of a lamp. The bulb can cause things to ignite.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
- Replace or professionally repair any appliances that spark, smell unusual, or overheat.
- Cover any outlets that are not in use with plastic safety covers if you have toddlers or young children in your home.
- Don't let the children stay close to stove, grills, barbeques, iron or anything that is heated.
- Don't let kids use kitchen appliances by themselves and supervise any art or science projects that involve electrical devices.
- Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home. Inspect and clean it regularly to ensure efficient working.
- Place fire extinguishers in kitchen, basement, garage and fireplace.
- Teach your children that fire is a tool and not a toy. Explain to them the dangers of playing with fire. Satisfy their curiosity about fire by telling them stories or conducting small experiments involving fire.
- Always check to see that cigarettes are extinguished before emptying ashtrays. Stubs that are still burning can ignite trash.
- Make sure that your kids don't play with electrical cords or electrical sockets.
If your children want to cook, let them cook only under an adult supervision.
- Do not pick up matches or lighters they find, instead, tell an adult about them immediately.
- Establish advanced family planning for escape which will prepare you for a fire emergency.
- Include children as a part of the 'family fire escape plan' and rehearsal. It is especially important to make sure they understand that they must escape; they can't hide from fire under a bed or in a closet.
- Teach children who are old enough to grasp instructions how to operate a fire extinguisher.
- Teach your children the quickest route out of the house, and also show a back up route in the event that the main route is blocked.
Your kids should learn that playing with any kind of fire is highly dangerous, and that they shouldn't even be allowed to touch matches lighters or any thing that can ignite. They should also learn what to do if a fire occurs. Teach them where to go if they hear a smoke alarm go off, or it they smell smoke. Teach them to NEVER hide in the closet or under the bed or anyplace else. Have an evacuation plan and a back up plan for your family and designate a safe meeting place for everyone to meet.
Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center, http://www.startingadaycarecenter.com.