Prevent Your Child From Being a Fire HazardPosted October 6, 2014
One fine day in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as a child returned from playing at a friend’s house, panic set in when she spotted a fire struck in front of her home. She was relieved to find her family safe, and no signs of fire damage to their home.
The real damage was in their backyard, which backed right up to a large field. Her older brother and friend were taking turns setting small patches of dry grass on fire and stomping it out. What an adrenaline rush for adolescent boys! That young man will never forget the dramatic moment he brought his mother to the back window of the house, turning her by the shoulders to see the flames filling the view through the glass as he told her to call 9-1-1!
How Common is it for Children to Play with Fire?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that children playing with fire started an estimated 14,500 structure fires, causing an estimated 130 civilian deaths, 810 civilian injuries and $328 million of property damage in 2006 (“Children and fire” fact sheet available at www.nfpa.org).
Common Ways Children Can Be Fire Hazards
The two most common ways children become fire hazards are playing with either matches or lighters. Candles and cigarettes are the most common reasons matches and lighters are present in a home, opening up nearly every home to the danger of unintentional fire starting.
Children are also dangerous when using electrical kitchen appliances or cooking at the stove. Many older children entrusted with simple cooking tasks may easily make a mistake and set the house afire.
How to Prevent Your Child From Being a Fire Hazard
- Keep Matches and Lighters Out of Reach
- Teach younger children never to touch matches and lighters and older children to return the items to an adult.
- Never leave children alone when cooking or using electrical kitchen appliances
- Make sure children know how to call 9-1-1 in case of fire
- Know how to use your home’s fire extinguisher!
- Use salt or baking soda to put out small fires
- Make sure children know to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothing should catch fire
- Have an escape plan for every room in case of a fire.
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