With the start of a new school year, it’s a great time to refresh your child’s fire safety knowledge.
Schools address fire safety, but it’s important for parents to bolster a child’s awareness.
Would your kids know what to do if a fire started in your home?
It’s an important question to address because, as the old adage goes, time is of the essence when it comes to a home fire.
Statistics say children under five are twice as likely to die in a home fire. In 2013, some 334 children died in fires and about 87 percent of those occurred in a place of residence, according to the nonprofit organization Safe Kids Worldwide. It’s important to talk with kids about what to do should the unlikely happen. Below are some tips on how parents can get started.
- First, talk to your kids about preventing fires. They may already know not to play with matches, but a lit candle is also a hazard. If possible, invest in some flameless candles so if a young child knocks it over, a fire won’t start. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 300 people are killed and $280 million in property is destroyed each year as the result of children playing with fire.
- The American Red Cross urges everyone to equip every room with a smoke alarm. Be sure to talk to children about them and why the device is there. Children should know what to do when they hear the sound of a fire alarm.
- Forming a plan and talking about it as a family will help little children should the event happen. Show children how to open the windows and that screens can pop off. Decide on a meeting place outside of the home. Go over this plan every month or so.
- Teach kids to STOP, DROP & ROLL should their clothes ever catch on fire. Teach them to crawl on their bellies on the floor if the smoke rises. Kids should learn to touch a closed door with the back of a hand to feel temperature before opening it.
- Consider escape ladders for bedrooms on the second and third floors.
Fires are not just a problem in the United States. In 2008, about 61,000 children around the world died due to a fire or burn. If your home catches fire, you have about two minutes to escape. Knowing what to do ahead of time is critical.
For more tips on how to talk to your children about fire safety, speak with your child’s pediatrician.