Letting your little ones know the importance of being safe when a fire breaks out is imperative but can also be daunting. Such a serious subject can either be too much for them to handle, or it might go right over their heads. So how do you discuss the subject with them the right way? While there is no one solution, here are some tips to make the situation a little easier.
WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME?
The first question you are probably asking yourself is when exactly should you inform your kids about the dangers of fire. Our suggestion is to have this discussion when they are old enough to understand that there are right and wrong ways to react in certain situations. Typically, this is when they enter the curious phase where they begin to ask questions in order to understand the world around them. As they grow older and more mature, you can still teach them about the hazards, such as when they begin to cook their own food. At this point they will already have an understanding of what causes fires, but they will need to learn how to extinguish them. From there, they can pass along the information to younger ones themselves.
IDENTIFY THE HAZARDS TOGETHER
Go through your home with your child to point out all the areas and items that are harmful enough to cause a fire. Even if they do not understand the function of the item, they at least need to know that in certain situations, it can cause a fire. While we don’t suggest going into enough detail to seriously scare the child, we do suggest letting them know there can be serious consequences when mishandling the product/item. The goal is to get them to avoid items like:
- Aerosol cans
- Electrical cords
- Christmas tree lights
- And more
TEACH THEM HOW TO REACT
Once you have successfully pointed out all or the majority of the hazardous objects, inform the child what they should do if for some reason there is a fire. When something like an item of their clothing is on fire, you should teach them the “stop, drop, and roll” method. Do this demonstration with them a couple of times until they get the hang of it and can perform the movements themselves. Remind them to cover their face and mouth when doing this action.
Since a child’s attention span is short, try to switch it up by turning the lesson into a fun game they will want to be a part of. You can do this by having a fire drill every month with different scenarios, even if they are outrageous scenarios, and have a designated area away from your house they can go to in order to remain safe. Get creative with every scenario so that it is not too serious or overwhelming for the child, but enough to where they are truly prepared for what might happen.
HELP THEM UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF 911
With any emergency, you will have to call the authorities. Now is a good time to let your child know about this lifeline, and even show them how to call 911 themselves. Stress to them that this is only for emergencies and should not be dialed just for fun.
As stated earlier, once small children have learned proper fire safety procedures, they can pass them on to others when they get older. This will give you peace of mind when it comes time for you to leave your kids at home by themselves someday. If your home is not insured against fire, get in touch with one of our agents as soon as possible! We can find the right plan for you.