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Parenting Press: Teach Your Child Fire Safety

Tip–Have regular fire drills in your home with your family. A child trained in fire safety is a safer child.

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It is very good sense to teach children of all ages fire safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, children 5 and younger are more than twice as likely to die in fires as older children and adults. Fire safety education can save lives.

Tools–The following suggestions and information are drawn from Kids to the Rescue! First Aid Techniques for Kids and from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Matches and lighters are for adults only. Tell children these are tools, and they are only for grown-ups. Children should never touch them. If they find them, or see another child touching them, they should tell a grown-up right away.
  • You can’t hide from fire. Many children die in fires because they try to hide from smoke or flames rather than escape. Tell children they cannot hide, but they can get out. Role play with them your own fire escape plan. Teach them the phrase, “Get out and stay out.” Tell them never to reenter a burning building.
  • Know what a smoke alarm sounds like. Children need to recognize the sound of a smoke alarm and react immediately. Conduct a fire drill, using a smoke alarm to signal the escape.
  • Have an escape plan. Hold fire drills frequently. Everyone should know at least two ways out of every room and be familiar with all exits, including windows. Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone should gather.
  • Stop, drop, and roll Stop, drop, and roll. Teach children the classic remedy for burning clothes:

    Stop–where you are–don’t run.
    Drop–to the ground.
    Roll–cover your face with your hands and roll over and over, or back and forth to smother the flames.

    Show kids how to use a coat or blanket to smother flames on another person’s clothes. Role play the procedure.

  • Crawl low under smoke. Teach children to find another exit if they come up against smoke or flames while trying to escape a fire. Teach them to crawl low under smoke, with their head one to two feet above the floor. To simulate smoke during a fire drill, you can stretch a bed sheet two feet above the floor–have the children crawl under the “smoke” to the exit.

You’ll find more practical tips you can use right now in Kids to the Rescue! First Aid Techniques for Kids by Maribeth and Darwin Boelts.

 

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