Child Fire Safety
Make your home child safe
Fires in the home kill dozens of children every year, accounting for nearly half of all accidental child deaths. Children are naturally drawn to the warmth and light of fire, but without the proper guidance this can turn into a dangerous fascination. Children under the age of 10 cause 6,000 fires a year.
Talking to your children about fire
Younger children should be given clear instructions of what they should and shouldn't do, whereas with children of five and above it is better to explain why. All children should know that it is never safe to play with fire.
Teaching your children simple rules will help protect them against fire.
never play with matches or lighters
never play with a lighted candle
never play close to a fire or heater, or leave toys near a fire or heater
don't pull on electric cables or fiddle with electrical appliances or sockets
never switch on the cooker
never put anything on top of the cooker
don't touch any saucepans on the cooker
don't put things on top of heaters or lights
if they see matches or lighters lying around - tell a grown up
Fire instructions for children
It's important to talk through with children what to do if there's a fire. Don't avoid it for fear of frightening them. Children need to know the basics of how to react, because there may not be an adult around to tell them what to do if a fire happens. Here are the basic instructions to give to your children:
if they see smoke or flames, they should tell someone immediately - a grown up if possible
get out of the building as soon as possible
never go back into the building for anything - fire fighters can search the house for anything left behind quicker and more safely
if there is smoke, crawl along the floor where the air is cleanest
if the escape route is blocked, go into a room with a window, put bedding or towels at the bottom of the door to block the smoke, open the window and call for help
never hide in a cupboard or under a bed - get out of the house and call for help immediately
find a phone and dial 999, and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service - give the address slowly and calmly (they may need to go to the neighbours to find a phone)
You should always make sure that children know their address so they can raise the alarm.
Know your escape route
Plan an escape route and make sure that everyone in the house, including children, childminders and babysitters, are familiar with it. Keep all exits clear and practice the escape plan with children.
Make your home safe for children
Here are some measures you can take in your home to make sure your children stay out of harm's way:
don't leave children on their own in a room where there's a fire risk
keep matches, lighters, candles and tea lights in a place where children cannot see or reach them
put a child-proof fireguard in front of an open fire or heater
don't let children play or leave toys near a fire or heater
put child locks on cupboards containing anything that could be used to start a fire (for example, matches, candles and flammable liquids)
keep portable heaters in a safe place where they can't be knocked over when they are being used or stored
keep your fire escape route clear of toys and other obstructions
never leave children alone in the kitchen when you're cooking and never let them play near the oven and hob
put plug guards into sockets so children can't stick anything into the holes
make sure electrical appliances in childrens' bedrooms are switched off at night