A lot of people install smoke detectors in their house and then go about their lives, hoping a fire never occurs. While smoke detectors are a good start, there’s so much more we can do to protect ourselves and our children. In a household with children, parents should ensure that their children know about fire safety and the parents should lead by example. Explaining fire safety to children can seem easy but it can actually be difficult and repetitive. Most children learn by example and by having things explained to them in a simple but firm manner.

Take matches, lighters, and other sources of open flames. From a very early age, children need to be taught not to touch these things. It needs to be explained to them how dangerous they can be, and this explanation will need to be repeated several times in different circumstances. Children, most often, need to understand why they aren’t allowed to play with fire. They need to understand how quickly a fire can spread from a small flame to a whole room in a matter of minutes, without scaring them too much.

Smoke detectors are a good place to start. Show children where these alarms are located, what they sound like and what they need to do if they hear it go off. Teach them how to escape every room in the house quickly and safely. Once outside of the house, ensure they know where to go. A meeting place should be established. It should be somewhere safe and easily recognizable in the night time. Practice fire escapes and meeting at the designated spot. Make a game of it, if you must.

While teaching children escape routes out of the house, be sure to talk to them about never hiding in the house during a possible fire. Explain to them that they need to get out of the house as quickly as possible and meet at the designated meeting spot. Staying and hiding in the house will make it very difficult for them to be found by fire and rescue.

Practicing dropping to the floor and crawling is important if their room is full of smoke. It’s easier to breath on the floor since heat rises, and the smoke contains heat. This might be difficult to explain to a child but practicing with them enough times and it will be an automatic response for them. That’s what fire safety for children is all about. You can’t simulate a fire but you can practice these safety measures with children. They will ask questions and they will copy what you do and that’s what the goal is.