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What Parents Can Do

Raising a child is exciting and challenging. Their energy, curiosity and creativity seem to sky-rocket each day. However, this curiosity can cause trouble when kids encounter fire hazards in the home; such as playing with matches, lighters and old electrical cords that can lead to burns and even death.

Unfortunately, children of all ages start 100,000 fires annually. Over 30 percent of fires that kill children are set by children playing with fire and two-thirds of those start in the bedroom by children playing with matches and lighters. However, you can help make your bedrooms and entire home safer by making sure your family is fire-conscious and aware.

What Parents Can Do. Parents play a critical role in making sure their families and children are safe from home fires.

  • Educate your children about fire-safety. Make sure your children know that fire can be dangerous. Teach them to recognize potential hazards, like worn-out electrical cords, candles burning unattended and over-loaded wall sockets, and tell them to always ask for your help when using space heaters and other electrical appliances. Most importantly, teach them to NEVER play with matches and lighters and explain to them why.
     
  • Remove potential hazards. Don’t leave matches, lighters or cigarettes lying around. Remove old electrical cords and plug up unused electrical sockets. Keep clothes, drapes, bedding and other flammables away from candles, lamps, space heaters and stoves. Tell children not to play or leave toys near the oven or stove-top.
     
  • Think like a kid. In fact, bend down or crawl around on the ground if you must –see what may catch a child’s eye. House-hold items that seem obviously dangerous to you might seem like toys to your children.
     
  • Have the right tools. Smoke alarms save lives! See that all smoke detectors in your home are working properly and always remember to change the batteries. Make sure you have at least one on each floor, especially in or directly outside bedrooms.
     
  • Make an escape plan and share it. Have your family practice leaving the house in case of a fire. Teach them two different ways to leave each room. Choose a special meeting place for your family in case a fire starts and teach them to immediately get out and stay out. PRACTICE and get the whole family involved.
     
  • Lead by example. Show your children that fire is a tool, not a toy. They will listen. Always remember that education can save your child’s life.