What is fire safety for kids? Is it any different from the regular fire safety advice and technology that helps us all prevent fires in the home? In essence, the answer is no; however, as children are typically unable to operate fire extinguishing devices and are more likely to accidentally cause a fire by engaging in dangerous activities without truly seeing the danger, it could certainly be argued that fire safety – and learning about fire safety – requires a different approach where children are concerned.
We all learn at some point the most effective technology to install in our homes to prevent a fire, and we all know – almost as second nature – what to do when a fire does break out. However, as it’s unlikely that your child will be able to browse and order a quality fire extinguisher like those here or install a fire alarm into the ceiling, there is no doubt that children’s fire safety is a different kettle of fish.
Fire safety for kids, therefore, falls into two broad categories, and they both involve teaching children about fire safety. Firstly, a child should learn about the danger of fire and how to avoid doing things or playing with devices that could cause one.
Secondly, a child needs to know what to do when a fire actually breaks out. Naturally, there are limitations on how fully an underdeveloped child can be clued up on all the items of fire safety. Regardless, it is important to teach your kids about fire safety – and there is a specific way of doing that.
Teaching Your Kids About Fire Safety
So how do you teach your kids about fire safety? Well, naturally the first rule is to keep things simple. The second rule might be to pay attention to all the silly little things that kids do which, in the context of fire hazards, could prove very dangerous.
It is also incredibly important that your child knows what to do when a fire breaks out; when this happens, children can become very scared and confused and they may not even be aware of what is happening. Of course, there is only so far you can go with this given a child’s limited understanding of the world.
Nevertheless, the tragic truth is that children account for one of the highest subgroups of fire-related deaths, so how you teach your child about fire safety could make all the difference in the world.
Prevent Your Child from Starting Fires
One of the best things you can do when it comes to fire safety and your children is to do everything you can to ensure they do not accidentally start a fire in the first place. Prevention is always preferable to response; preventing disaster is preferable to tackling it.
The first thing to do is to make your child aware of the dangers. The classic wisdom “don’t play with matches” certainly applies here, but there is a lot more to it than that. The first thing to do is to identify the areas of your home and various appliances that could pose a fire hazard and then make it clear to your child that playing with such things is forbidden.
There is no need to be too strict; it could even be turned into a fun game. Nevertheless, your kids should be aware that the cooker is off-limits and that throwing things into the hearth is not allowed. Children love to investigate things, and this involves the various plug sockets and electrical appliances around your home.
Depending on how young your child is, you may need to place coverings over the sockets and keep these appliances well out of reach. If your child is old enough, however, you can certainly communicate to them that such items are not to be played with; it might even be possible to communicate to them the very real dangers but, again, only if your child is old enough to understand.
Teach Your Child How to Survive a Fire
As mentioned, children can become very confused in the event of a fire and may not know the best way to survive it. They can even do seriously counterproductive things such as running away from the firefighters who are there to save them or hiding in secluded parts of the home as they flee the fire. If your child is old enough to understand, then you can certainly do something about this.
If not, however, then be sure that your child is never inaccessible so you can grab them in the event of a fire and make for the exit. If possible, though, the best way to teach your child about fire procedure is to make a game of it. You can easily find resources online to help with this. A great method is to create a layout of your home and make a maze game for the child to fill out.
You could also show the child the route from their room towards the exit of your home and see if they can remember the route later, rewarding them if they can. It is also an incredibly good idea to familiarise your child with what firefighters look like and what they do. In the event of a fire, children often run away from firefighters or hide from them.
This is mainly because they are frightened by what they are wearing and don’t understand who they are or what they are there to do. You could show your child an educational video featuring real firefighters or even visit your local fire station.
Make Your Home Child Friendly
Of course, however much you teach your children about fire safety, it is always possible that, in the event of a real fire, they simply will not know what to do. They are, after all, only kids and, if an actual fire happens, you can be sure it will be quite a different experience from any simulation games you might have played with them.
Therefore, there is really no substitute for making your home properly child-friendly and keeping fire hazards well out of the way of your kids. As well as this, you should of course also follow all the other fire safety practices which apply to adults as well.
Have smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them regularly, do not leave open flames unattended, and have a set fire escape plan that everyone knows about. Making sure your child is clued up about fire safety is great, but there is no substitute for all the real preventative measures that can stop a fire from happening. Combining them both, however, is even better.