Fire safety starts at a very young age. Even the youngest child can be taught that fire is hot and will burn them. Here are some age-appropriate tips to help your child learn how to stay safe around fire.
Young Children, Simple Words
Even a toddler understands the words “hot” and “burn.” When you light a candle in the house, you can start teaching your child about the dangers of fire. With your toddler watching, put your hand near the fire, then say “hot!” and pull your hand away quickly. You can also use the word burn. Repeating the action will help your child make the connection that the pretty dancing flame can hurt even adults.
Teach your children about the nature of fire. Opportunities to share these lessons include when you light a candle or have a campfire outside. Start talking to your children about fire even when they are toddlers. The conversations should be repeated often to help the children learn that fire is deadly, fast and hot. Talk to them about how smoke rises. Pretend that there is a fire in the house and have them practice crawling on the floor to find the way to the exit.
Stop, Drop and Roll
Part of the fire education in your home should include teaching them that fire needs oxygen to burn and spread. Talk to them about why stopping, dropping and rolling works if their clothing or hair ever catches on fire. Have them practice this life-saving skill.
As your children get older, they can start learning about alternate exits. Have fire drills in the home, and have the children practice escaping through these alternate exits. Get the fire escape ladder for a second-story window and let them practice using it. Teach them how to feel the door to see if it’s hot before opening it. As them how they would leave the home if the fire were in a certain bedroom, the laundry room or the kitchen. Designate a meeting spot where the family would gather if you were separated in a fire. Ask them what that meeting spot is every time you practice the fire drills.
Teaching your children about the nature of fire includes teaching them that most things in a house are combustible. Sit down on the floor of your child’s bedroom and explain how the bedding, clothing and even carpet are flammable. Explain how a fire that starts on the floor will burn up, spreading to the walls, ceiling, curtains and other areas. Talk to them about the importance of telling you if someone they know likes to play with matches.
Knowledge is power, and educating your child about the danger of fire can save your child’s life. Educate them about the dangers of fire, including how it spreads. Have them practice fire drills that might save their lives and the stop, drop, roll technique. You’ll also want to show them what fire extinguishers are and how they work, but don’t allow them to use them since they are too young. The lessons should be repeated often, allowing your child to remember them when they are needed.