Fire safety fact: A fire in the home hits young ones hardest. Fires injure nearly 40,000 children age 14 and under every year, and children under five are more than twice as likely to die in a fire as the rest of the population, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization that strives to prevent accidental childhood injuries.
Is your family up to snuff on its fire safety savvy? Follow these top tips to be sure.
1. Create a fire escape plan
And make sure your family knows how to use it! Your plan should include two ways out of every room, and specifically plan for children under five, who can't escape on their own. The plan should also include an easy-to-find meeting spot. Practice the plan twice a year with your kids. Make sure it calls for escaping first and calling the fire department second.
Prepare for fire by installing fire escape ladders on the upper levels of your home. If you have a newborn or baby, there are additional considerations. While it's ideal to carry baby out in a carrier or car seat, you risk wasting precious time strapping her in. Consider keeping an easy-to-access sling near the crib so you can safely transport your child while leaving your hands free.
Child chat: Have your kids practice crawling low under the smoke, covering their mouths and noses to protect their lungs and touching doors to test for heat before exiting a room.
2. Be smoke alarm smart
A working smoke alarm is absent in more than 60 percent of home fires where a child is injured or killed. You should have one on every level of your home. Test them monthly and change batteries annually. Hedge your safety bets by using two kinds of smoke alarms. Photoelectric detectors are more likely to catch slow, smoky fires; ionization alarms sense flaming ones.