10 Important Fire Safety Tips for Children

male child holding a smoking stick

10 Important Fire Safety Tips for Children

Fire safety is important for the entire family, but even more so for children. According to the “Child Fire Deaths, Fire Death Rates and Relative Risk (2009-2018)”, nearly 50% of all children fire deaths occur to children between the ages of 0 to 4. Unfortunately, these children are not able to escape from fire emergencies in the home by themselves as easily as an older child, so they are often depended on others for their saving. Because a child’s lungs are also quite small and still growing, smoke inhalation also is a factor and poses an even larger threat to children than to adults.

Children Causing Fires

According to the “Fire Risk to Children in 2010” report, a “leading cause of reported residential building fire death and injuries for children age 9 or younger in 2010 was “playing with a heat source” which includes lighters and matches. Children age 9 or younger accounted for 61 percent of deaths and 28 percent of injuries where the cause of the residential building fire was due to “playing with a heat source” in 2010.” These are very sobering statistics, especially considering that these fires could have been prevented. What can be done to reduce the chances of a child starting a fire?

Teaching Fire Safety

Children need to be taught at an early age about the dangers of playing with fire in an effort to prevent injuries, death and damage to property. Each year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and other fire agencies sponsor “Fire Protection Week”, to help children learn more about fire safety. The program runs October 3rd to October 9th this year. Sparky the Dog is the official mascot of Fire Prevention Week. The Sparky website is devoted to fire safety and prevention tips that teachers and parents can share with their children. Realistically, there should be more than just one week devoted to fire safety, so this site is a great platform for teaching children about fire safety.

Children need to fully understand the dangers of playing with fire and as well as the consequences of what could happen when they do.

10 Children Fire Safety Tips

  1. Keep matches and lighters in a secured location out of reach of children.
  2. If a child finds matches, lighters or other ignitable objects, they need to be taught to immediately give them to an adult.
  3. Have a home fire escape plan in place for your home. Make sure all family members know the plan. Practice the escape route every month. Set up a meeting place where every member of the family knows to go should a fire ignite. Teach your children about crawling on the ground below the smoke in order to get out of the burning house. Children should be told not to grab for their favorite toys to take with them, and they should never go back into a burning room or house.
  4. Practice stop, drop, and roll in case their clothing is on fire.
  5. Sound the home smoke alarm, so the child recognizes the sound and knows that if it does go off, it is an emergency.
  6. Teach your child not to be afraid of fire professionals. They should not hide when firefighters enter the room. A good suggestion would be to take your child to visit a local fire station to get a tour, meet their local firefighters and get more safety tips. Have emergency phone numbers and contacts visible in every room of the home.
  7. Have working smoke alarms on every floor of the home. Place the smoke alarms in the hallway outside of bedrooms, in the kitchen, and in the basement.
  8. Check out under the bed for evidence of burned matches and objects. This is a sign that the child is playing with fire. Also, children love to hide under beds, so this is a perfect spot for them to try out the matches or lighters.
  9. Make sure that the smoke alarm is sounding loud enough that a child will immediately wake up from the sound.
  10. Add fire-escape ladders to each bedroom in the home. Explain to your children how to use the ladder and practice at least once a month when your are practicing the home escape plan.

A home, toys, machines, things… they are all replaceable, but a child is not. Remind your children that they are irreplaceable and that these safety tips are meant to protect them.