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Monday, June 8, 2009

June is National Safety Month: Fire Safety

Part I of the "Safety Series"


As June is the official "National Safety Month," it is a great time to review basic safety precautions. 


Fire Safety - Children less than 5 are twice as likely to die in a fire. This has prompted the "Prepare. Practice. Prevent The Unthinkable." campaign which reviews fire safety for infants and toddlers. 


1.  Smoke Detectors: Check to make sure all smoke detectors are working. Ideally this should be done once a month by pushing the test button. Replace batteries once a year.  

Smoke detectors should be installed on every floor of your home. Install a smoke detector on the top of the stairs and also inside bedrooms. For more information on children and smoke detectors visit the following site.  The US Fire Administration has a great fire safety pamphlet  that explains the difference between different types of detectors and which should be used where.

2. Fire Extinguishers: Check to be sure the fire extinguishers are accessible and do not need to be replaced.

3. Escape Routes: Children as young as 3 can follow a fire escape plan if they have practiced it often enough. Review with your children what to do if they hear the fire alarm.  Teach them to crawl on the ground if the room is smoky and to feel the door before they open it.  They should know two exit routes from their bedroom. Teach them that if the door is warm to not open it.  If appropriate, have a safety ladder easily accessible in their room and teach them how to use it.  Routinely practice fire drills with your children.

4. STOP, DROP and ROLL:  Every year numerous children are burned when their clothing catch on fire when they get too close to an open flame. Teach your kids to STOP, DROP and ROLL.  Rolling smothers the flame and can save a child's life.

3. Carbon Monoxide detectors: Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas and is often referred to as the silent killer. All homes should have at least one carbon monoxide. For further information on carbon monoxide checkout the following fact sheet. 

4. CPR: Brush up or enroll in a CPR class. Many hospitals offer parent CPR classes. Also consider who else will be watching your child regularly. If you are hiring a babysitter consistently, you may want to offer to pay for him or her to take a CPR class.  Free CPR classes are available online. I personally cannot vouch for these but here is a link to a free on-line CPR class for parents.