Whilst it is of course important for all parents to teach young children fire safety tips, it is equally necessary that this information is presented in a way which is understandable and memorable.
When it comes to fire deaths, one of the most at-risk groups of children are those under the age of 4, accounting for nearly half of all child fire fatalities. Equally shocking is the fact that children of this age are also the most likely group to have started a fire in the first place, so it is therefore vital that respect for fire is taught alongside the measures needed to escape one.
With that in mind here are a few fire safety tips for parents with young children:
- Limit material access – many young children are curious about the effects of fire, and will often play with matches or lighters to satiate this curiosity. Keep all fire-starting equipment firmly out of the reach of inquisitive hands.
- Reward – if lighters or matches have been left around the house, encourage your children to find the nearest adult to notify them, and reward the child for their vigilance.
- Demonstrate – show your children how fire starts, what it does, and how it spreads. Curious children will try to find this out on their own, so it’s far better for you to show them instead.
- Keep it serious – make sure a serious slant is kept on this demonstration so that your children are fearful, rather than fascinated by fire.
- Form a plan – involve your children in formulating a fire escape plan, and let them watch as you test your alarm systems so they become au-fait with the noises associated with an emergency.
- Set rules – make items such as lighters, matches and the oven hob entirely off limits to children, placing them in the same category as knives or tools.
- Use age appropriate materials – a series of Sesame Street themed songs and materials can be found here and here, each of which contain useful advice and catchy phrases to help children memorise safety tips.
- Don’t break rules – if your child sees you ignoring a smoke alarm or flicking a lighter on and off for fun, they may begin to disregard the seriousness of your fire safety tips. Stick to your own rules, and your children will too.