Teaching fire safety doesn't have to be complicated.
It's never too early to teach your child about fire safety. In fact, can you imagine how easy it is for a toddler to start a fire? A matchbox, some coloring books and poof! Everything goes up in flames. Teaching your kids to respect fire will keep everybody safe.
1Avoid playing fire games with kids unless you can explain the danger to them. For example, bringing a magnifying glass outside and using the sun to start a fire sounds like a fun experiment. Now try to explain to a toddler that he should never do it. Wait until your kids are in school to try these things. By then you'll be able to explain fire dangers better and why they shouldn't try this on their own.
2Stage a fire alarm and fire safety drill. Make the smoke detector alarm go off so they recognize the sound. Then explain what kids should do if they hear it. Even toddlers can be trained to find the safest exit during a fire. They can also learn about "stop, drop, roll" if their clothes catch fire, and about crawling on the ground to avoid heavy smoke when trying to find the exit. You don't need to go into details about air density or how fire works here. Just explain the facts and then set up drills so you can practice together.
3Have your children around when you're burning something or starting a fire. Those are great opportunities to show the power of fire and why it should be respected. Don't "oooh" and "ahhh" around fire, no matter how impressive. Instead, focus on "it's hot" and "it's dangerous" so kids get the right idea about it.
4Show kids how to use their senses to escape a fire. Smoke coming in from under a door? Look for another exit. Door feels hot? Don't open it; there's probably a fire on the other side. It doesn't matter if your kids can't read, they still need to be able to identify the "Fire Exit" in your building. Use cue cards to teach them what the picture represents so they know to follow the sign if a fire breaks out.
5Let kids know it's okay to be a tattletale when it comes to fire. Neighbor kid playing with matches? Ask your kid to come tell you. Somebody in daycare carrying around a lighter or leaving it within reach of the kids? Mommy should know. The best way to avoid fire dangers is to stay away from what causes them.
- Keep everything that could start a fire --matches, lighters, magnifying glasses-- away from kids at all times.