October is Fire Safety Month and Children’s of Alabama and Safe Kids Worldwide are reminding families about fire safety and burn prevention. Among all preventable injuries, fire and burns are the fifth leading cause of death for children ages 19 and under. Every day, at least one child dies from a home fire. “Our hearts and minds are always focused on preventing fires and burns when talking with children and their families,” said Marie Crew, director of Children’s of Alabama’s Health Education and Safety Center. “We don’t want to see burns or home fires happen to any family so we are asking parents to talk to their kids about fire safety.”
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, parents are encouraged to review the following tips with their children.
- Check your smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent. They are a critical first step for staying safe. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every sleeping area.
- Teach kids never to play with matches or lighters. Make a habit of placing these items away from young children.
- Consider what a child could be thinking in an emergency. Many adults think that children will run or call for a parent during a fire or that their child will know how to escape from a burning building. But children often hide under beds or in closets, thinking they are safe. If a child accidentally started the fire, they often fear blame and punishment and do not alert an adult. They might even be scared or intimidated by the firefighters.
- Create and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room in your house in case of a fire. Get a stopwatch and time how fast your family can escape. Designate a meeting place where everyone in the family should meet outside, away from the house, in case of a fire.
- Teach children to get low and go. Children should know how to respond to the sound of a smoke alarm. Teach them to get low and get out when they hear it. A child who is coached properly ahead of time will have a better chance to be safe.
- Create a safety zone in the kitchen. Limit distractions when cooking and don’t leave a hot oven or stovetop unattended.