Parenting isn’t always unicorns, rainbows and chocolate chip cookies. But you already knew that. Sometimes we have to deal with the serious stuff. And knowing how to talk to your kids about fire safety is just that—serious.

October is National Fire Prevention Month. And that makes right now the perfect time to bring this incredibly important subject up with your kiddos, even the little ones. So how should you talk to your kids about fires, safety and prevention?

Photo: Hamza El Falah via Unsplash

To start with, don’t scare them. Fires are scary, especially for a child who may only associate them with those big screen movie-made explosions. Instead of shocking your child with chilling details, try to help them understand the seriousness of the subject.

Robert Cole, Ph.D, president of Fireproof Children and one of the nation’s leading experts in fire safety education suggests, “The best way to address fire safety with young children is to focus on what everyone should be doing to help keep the family safe—the adults and the children—instead of focusing on the potential dangers of fire.”

When it comes to fire safety and prevention, Cole says, “The most important thing for parents to teach their children is that matches and lighters are grown-up tools.” he goes on to add, “Parents should understand that they have an important job to do—use those tools safely and put them away when they are done. But also that the children have an important job—to tell the adults around them if they find matches or a lighter and to please put them away.”

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Along with talking to your littles about what fire safety is and how to prevent fires, parents also need to address safety and escape plans. If you’re not sure where to begin, Cole recommends, “Start with a specific plan that clearly outlines what everyone, adults and children, should do in the event of a fire. The capabilities of each person in the house should be considered. For example, very young children who are unable to escape on their own should be assigned an adult who is aware that their job is to help the child get out of the house.”

Cole also notes, “The plan should identify two ways out of every room. If in a multi-story house or apartment building, where going out the window is not an option, the “second” option should be securing yourself in place by closing the door and going to the window. The plan must clearly identify a meeting place outside of the house. Everyone should go to the meeting place and stay there!” Families should practice their plan twice a year, at a minimum.

What else can you do to help your child to understand the importance of fire safety? BIC’s Play Safe! Be Safe! website has plenty of teaching tips for adults along with games and activities for your kiddo.

—Erica Loop

Featured Photo: Skitterphoto via Pexels

 

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