Unfortunately, many children end up in emergency rooms for fire and burn injuries. Yet, a lot of these accidents can be prevented if children learn fire safety and live in a childproof environment. Here’s what parents or caregivers can do to protect children from fires and burns indoors and outdoors.
- When cooking, use the stove’s back burners as much as possible. Doing so prevents children from reaching hot burners and pots. The toddler should be put in a safe area, such a high chair, when cooking.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Curious kids might grab them and pull them down on themselves.
- Keep flammable items like towels and oven mitts off the stove top so kids don’t move them toward the fire.
- Make sure microwaved foods and drinks are not too hot before giving them to a young child. Don’t heat baby bottles in the microwave.
- Don’t let kids get near things that might start a fire, such as petrol, paraffin, lamps, matches, candles, lighters, and hot irons. Store matches and lighters in locked drawers or cabinets. Put out candles before leaving the room.
- Store flammable liquids in safe containers, out of reach of children and away from open flames.
- Keep space heaters at least one metre away from flammable materials like bedding and drapes. Supervise the space heater and don’t let kids get near them.
- Have a fire extinguisher on every level of the home and learn how to use fire extinguishers Store them on a wall out of reach of children and near an exit.
- Those who have a fireplace should use a guard door to keep kids from getting too close.
- Those who have a wood stove should ensure the room where it’s installed has baby gates.
- Make sure smoke detectors are installed in each child’s bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and change batteries each year.
- Cover sockets to prevent children from inserting their fingers or other objects. Use tamper-resistant receptacles.
- Cover, move or remove electric wires and keep them out of children’s reach.
- Choose natural fabrics for kids, which are harder to ignite than synthetics. Don’t let children wear loose-fitting clothing at night. Pajamas should fit snugly.
- Teach children what to do if their clothes catch fire (stop, drop and roll):
- Stop at once.
- Drop to the floor and cover the face with hands.
- Roll on the floor to put out flames.
- Create and practice an evacuation plan with children:
- Determine two ways to exit any room.
- Never use lockable doorknobs in kids’ bedrooms.
- Teach kids to leave a burning building by crawling under the smoke.
- Determine a meeting place outside, in front of the house.
- Always supervise grills, campfires, fire pits, kerosene lamps, and supplemental heaters, and don’t let children play near them.
- Before putting children in car seats, check for hot straps or buckles. When parking in direct sunlight, cover the car seat.
- Fireworks are a real danger to both kids and adults. Avoid using them, especially when children are around.
- Never let kids hold sparklers. Give them glow sticks instead, which can be just as fun. Sparklers burn at 600 degrees Celsius – enough to melt glass.
Children, especially toddlers, need constant supervision and protection. There are never enough safety tips to protect them. Here more tips to keep kids safe from fire and how to prepare children for emergencies.
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