Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Home Safe Home
Prevent burn injuries and fires

by Dr. Rajiv Sood

December 01, 2012

Dr. Rajiv Sood is the co-medical director of the Riley Hospital for Children Burn Center at Indiana University Health.

As a parent, your childís safety is always on your mind, but are you relying on luck alone to prevent a burn injury or a deadly fire? You shouldnít because your familyís life may depend on it. 

Put the odds in your favor by implementing preventive measures now and making sure EVERY member of your family knows what to do in case of a fire - especially as the Christmas season nears. Involve your child where appropriate and learn how simple precautions and a little planning can help keep your family safe.

Prevention is always the best strategy

Do not put your Christmas tree near a heat source. Discard a live tree promptly when it becomes dry.

Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday decorations. Check holiday lights for frayed wires, bare spots and broken sockets.

Keep a fireplace screen in front of the fireplace. Teach your child the danger of touching or moving it.

Keep space heaters away from flammable materials. Turn them off when leaving a room or going to bed.

Never leave food cooking on a stove unattended. Keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove.

Do not allow people to smoke in your home. Keep matches and lighters out of reach.

Only use the clothes dryer when you are home.

Burn candles on a flat, steady surface where children and pets canít tip them over.

Unplug your clothing iron and curling iron when not in use.

Set your water heater thermostat at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Install smoke detectors on each level of the home, near the kitchen and in each bedroom. Test the alarms monthly and replace batteries yearly.

Have a fire extinguisher, and ensure family members know where itís stored and how to use it.

Hatch a lifesaving plan

Post your local fire departmentís number in your home. Teach your child how and when to use 9-1-1.

As a family, create a home evacuation plan in case of a fire. Sketch out your homeís floor plan and discuss each potential exit.

Demonstrate and practice the Stop, Drop, Roll method. Tell your child that if his clothing is on fire, he must immediately stop what heís doing, drop to the ground, and roll until the fire is out.

Explain to your child that if he sees smoke, he should cover his mouth and stay low to the floor when exiting the house to minimize breathing in smoke.

Practice makes perfect. Practice evacuating the home during the day and at night. Donít assume your family knows how to escape in a time of high stress.

Donít leave your childís safety to chance when it comes to accidental burns and fire. Implement safety measures now and teach your child what to do in the case of an emergency. 

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