Children under age 5 are twice as likely as the
rest of us to die in a fire. Each year, thousands
of children are injured or killed in home fires,
and 40 percent of them are under age five.
To help protect babies and toddlers from the devastating
effects of fire, the United States Fire Administration
(USFA), a division of the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA), has begun a national public safety
campaign. USFA is working with the American Academy
of Pediatrics, NFPA, National SAFE KIDS Campaign
and ZERO TO THREE to deliver this important message
to parents and those who care for children under
PREPARE - make your home safer from fire.
fire safety - especially your home fire escape
PREVENT THE UNTHINKABLE.
When it comes to your family's smallest members,
remember: Love alone won't save them. Practicing
fire safety will.
Children and Fire
lighters, and other heat sources are the leading
causes of fire-related deaths
under age 5. In fact, toddlers actually cause
a large number of home fires by playing with
and matches. Children have a natural curiosity
about fire and you can't underestimate their
ability to strike matches or start a lighter.
What you can do:
- Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Teach toddlers to tell
you when they find a match or a lighter.
- Remember that even child-resistant lighters are not childproof, and store them safely.
a child is curious about fire or has been playing with fire, calmly and firmly explain
that matches and lighters are tools for adults
to use carefully.
- Never use matches or lighters
Children may imitate you.
- Prevent fires by practicing
and teaching fire safe behaviors in your home.
3 feet away from the stove when cooking,
don't overload outlets,
have your heating systems checked annually and use deep ashtrays
and soak the ashes in water, if you smoke.
Two-thirds of home fires that kill children
occur in homes without a working smoke alarm.
When fire breaks out, you have only seconds to escape
its heat, black smoke
and deadly gases. Families can dramatically increase
the chances of surviving a fire simply by installing
and maintaining working smoke alarms. Most hardware,
home supply, or general merchandise stores sell
smoke alarms and their batteries.
What you can do:
- Install and maintain smoke alarms on every level
of your home and outside sleeping areas.
your smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- If you keep
the door of your baby's bedroom closed, keep
a working smoke alarm in the room
and use a baby monitor so you can hear if the
- When your children are ready,
familiarize them with the sound of the smoke
them that when one goes off, they must
leave the home
and go outside
to the designated family meeting spot.
Home Fire Escape Plan
Most of the families who have fire escape plans
do not practice them. Consider that it takes just
a few minutes, sometimes only seconds, for a fire
to spread out of control. Then consider the difference
that a well-rehearsed fire escape plan can make.
Children as young as 3 can follow a fire escape
plan that they have practiced often, and it can
mean the difference between life and death.
What you can do:
- Draw a basic diagram of your home, marking
all windows and doors, and plan two routes
out of each
- Consider various fire scenarios, from easiest
to most difficult. Imagine a fire starting
from your kitchen, from the basement, and from
the hallway outside your bedroom. Develop your
plan with options for a safe escape in each
- If you are escaping smoke, crawl low under
the smoke. Touch doors to see if they are
opening. If so, use the alternative escape
- Designate a safe meeting point outdoors
and teach your children never to go back inside
- Practice your fire escape plans regularly at
least twice a year, more often is better.
Include a strategy
for times when one parent is out of the home.
practicing the fire escape plan, show children
how to cover their nose and mouth
to reduce smoke inhalation.
- Keep exits clear of
debris or toys.
- When you have babies and toddlers
in the home, these extra escape options are
- Keep a baby harness by the crib in case
of emergencies. The harness, worn like
brace, allows you to comfortably carry
your baby and
hands free to escape the home.
- Keep your child's bedroom door
If a hallway fire occurs, a closed door will
hinder smoke from overpowering your baby
or toddler, giving firefighters extra time
- Teach toddlers not to hide from firefighters.
Uniforms can be scary in times of crisis. Teach
- If you have older children too, have them
practice crawling, touching doors, or
going to the window,
according to your