October is Fire Safety Month, so it’s a great time to discuss the importance of fire safety with young children. The way parents and educators discuss this topic with their children will shape the choices they make in the future. Here, the child education and development specialists at Celebree Learning Centers discuss how to teach young children about fire safety.
Keeping children safe is a fundamental part of being a parent and educator. Equipping children with the knowledge they need to stay safe in an emergency situation can help to build safe practices and prevent fire incidents from occurring. As such, teaching and reinforcing this knowledge is something that should be done early, and often.
There are several key fire safety principles that should be discussed with young children, all of which are explained below.
“Go to a Firefighter in an Emergency.”
Children tend to be afraid in the moment when a firefighter arrives to help, so it is important to explain to children what role firefighters play in an emergency, what their gear does and why firefighters wear it. If possible, schedule a tour with a local fire station, where children will be able to get a closer look at firefighting equipment, meet a firefighter and have any questions about fire safety answered.
“Matches, Stoves, Ovens and Lighters are Grown-up Tools.”
Emphasize to children that there are certain tools that only grown-ups use, such as matches, lighters, stoves and ovens. Instruct children to tell an adult if they find matches, lighters or a stove or oven that is on but not being supervised—make sure they understand that they should not interact with the item. Have children role-play these types of scenarios to better reinforce their knowledge.
“Stop, Drop and Roll.”
A child’s first instinct if their clothing catches on fire may be to run; however, this will likely cause the fire to spread faster. Demonstrate to children the best way to respond in this situation through the “stop, drop and roll” method: stop and cover your face, drop to the ground and roll from side to side until the fire has been smothered. Have children practice with you several times, and then practice together until the action becomes innate.
“Crawl Low Under Smoke.”
Some fires may create a large amount of smoke, so it is important to explain to children that this smoke is very dangerous. Teach children to respond correctly to a room filled with smoke: they should get down on their hands and knees, keep their heads up and crawl outside, without stopping to collect belongings or pets. Instruct them to use a sleeve, shirt or other material to protect their hand when trying to open a door—doorknobs may become extremely hot during a fire. Practice these moves with children until they can confidently perform them alone.
“Follow the Emergency Plan.”
All parents and educators should explain to children what to do and where to go in case of a fire. Make them aware of what a fire alarm sounds like, how they should react to it and where to meet with family or peers in case of a fire. Practice this plan regularly to ensure children remember it.
The Child Education and Development Specialists at Celebree Learning Centers Promote Child Safety
At Celebree Learning Centers, we understand that keeping your child safe is our most important responsibility. This means dedicating time to helping children understand the hazards within the world around them, and providing them the information and tools necessary for them to make safe choices. Let us help prepare your child—for more information about one of our educational programs, contact us to schedule a tour today!