Kids under the age of five have a much higher risk of dying in a residential fire compared to children in other age groups. In fact, those under the age of 5 are at a risk forty percent higher than older children. That’s an alarming number but we can all do our part to change these figures by teaching young children what they can do to save themselves in a fire.

First, what can parents do to lower this figure? Unfortunately, the mindset of many people – too many people – is that it would never happen to them. Fires are something someone else experiences, it won’t happen to me, right? We’ve all seen the news, we’ve seen what devastation fire can do to property and lives. It is time for us to wake up and pay attention so that we don’t end up on the news.

If you have young children, it is your duty as a parent to safeguard their lives. Yes, you hold their hands when you cross the street, you make sure dangerous substances in your home are out of harms way. You do so many things to keep your children safe but are you doing enough?

Prepare, Practice, Prevent. Young kids aren’t as capable of exiting a home or understanding the dangers of fire risks, so parents must take extra precautions to reduce fire risk in the home, including installing fire safety equipment such as smoke alarms and keeping fire extinguishers in the house in good working order. Many home fires were found to not have working smoke alarms. Ensure you have them installed and tested frequently as they serve as a first alert, giving you precious minutes of warning.

Don’t overload electric outlets, extension cords or wall sockets. Stringing multiple extension cords together in order to plug several appliances into the same outlet is a bad idea. Reduce clutter. This is especially important in the kitchen, where dish towels, sponges, paper towels, and other items can catch fire if placed too close to a hot stove. But it’s also important in all areas of your home – blankets and clothing piled up against a heat run, for instance, can also pose a fire hazard. As a rule, keep combustible materials at least three feet from the stove burners, and never leave cooking unattended.

Hide all matches and lighters out of reach of young children. Even responsible children can accidentally light a fire if they encounter a lighter or match and try it out of curiosity. It’s best to place these items well out of reach of kids.