Fire Safety

Fires can be furious and deadly.  The smoke and the gas that you cannot see can kill long before flames spread through the room.  In 2004, 473 children ages 14 and under died in fires and every year 116,600 children are injured from a fire/burn-related incident.  Despite a dramatic decline in the fire death rate since Safe Kids began in 1988, fires remain a leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children in the United States.  Preparation and education are key elements and can prevent fire tragedies from happening to your family.

Safety Tips

In the kitchen

  • Have a “kid-free-zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and area where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquid.
  • Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.  If you have young children in the home, cook on the stove back burners.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period, turn the stove off.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

Around the house

  • Keep matches, lighters, and other heat sources of children’s reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Avoid plugging several appliance cords into the same electrical socket.
  • Plug major appliances (stove, washer, and dryer) and heating appliances (portable space heater) directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord.

In the bedroom

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every sleeping area.  Test smoke alarms once a month and replace alkaline batteries at least once a year.  Ten-year lithium alarms do not require battery changes.
  • Test your smoke alarms that use both ionization and photoelectric sensing to detect both flaming and smoldering fires.
  • Test your smoke alarms at night to see if your child will wake up and respond to the alarm.  Children sleep more deeply and may not wake up.  If your child does not wake up to the alarm, try an alarm that includes a recorded voice, that uses a lower louder tone, or that includes a vibration under the pillow.
  • Make and practice a fire escape that includes at least two ways out of every room and includes a permanent meeting place in front of the home or building.
  • Have a designated person to help young children and others who might have difficulty escaping.  Children as old as 10 years often need assistance.

Content Sources Safe Kids – Fire, Burn and Scald Prevention and U.S. Fire Administration

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