As with all the home safety and security issues, it’s so important that you speak with your children about the importance of fire safety in the home and outside of it. Children are often curious about things—and sometimes those things are dangerous. A little natural curiosity is wonderful in children, so long as they understand the proper way to safety deal with their curiosity.
Did you know that children 14 and under make up approximately 15% of fire-related deaths and 52% of all fire-related deaths in children occur in kids aged 5 and younger. While many of these deaths are related to accidents, some children find they have a proclivity to play with fire. If you find that your child plays with fire in a dangerous way, either by himself or in hidden places, it’s important to address this curiosity and see if there is a way to satisfy his or her yearnings in another way.
All children should be watched closely in the home and adults should ensure that matches, lighters, and other fire-related paraphernalia should be kept hidden in secured drawers or cabinets. A healthy conversation should take place every time your children find matches or lighters—you can use this as a jumping off point for your conversation about fire safety. Be careful that you do not increase their curiosity with fire by making it “forbidden” or “special” Fire should be regarded as a tool, not a toy.
What should you talk about in a fire-safety conversation with your kids:
1) Fire Escape plan: before sitting down with your kids, devise a fire-escape plan from your home and make sure you have a clear meeting point in mind. This plan can be similar to that used for other emergencies around the home. Make sure your kids are well-aware of meeting points.
2) Educate children on the Fire-rescue process—this can include a trip to the fire department to get to know some of the firefighters and understand the importance of helping them out by shouting for their attention if your children are ever in danger from a fire.
3) Demonstrate how to stop, drop, and roll in case their clothing catches fire.
4) Show children where the smoke detectors are in your home and help them understand how they work and what you have to do to maintain them so they stay in working order.