By Silvia Martinez, Mama Latina Tips
This week we had a big festival in our hometown. The celebrations included delicious food, festive music, fireworks, and street performers. It was a big deal. But what really caught my 4-year-old’s eye was the fire breather in the town square. The fireworks were too loud for him, but he just couldn’t stop watching those flames blasting from that young man’s mouth.
Fireworks, campfires, fire breathers, the world overflows with eye-catching examples of both the beauty and the destructive power of fire.
On other subjects, I might have postponed the teaching opportunity until after the celebration – I don’t want to be a constant killjoy but, for me, fire is just too dangerous, destructive, capricious and alluring to not say something to the boys during the performance. Of course, just as I was about to say something of the don’t-try-this-at-home variety, my older son perked up first. “Mama,” he said, “I thought you said never to play with fire. Doesn’t that burn?”
He opened the door: I walked through it! “Well son, let me tell you a little bit about fire…..
So here are 5 tips you might want to try for teaching your children about fire safety:
1. Ring up the local firehouse and find out if they give tours. After all, they are the experts and odds are your kids will listen closely to what the firefighters have to say. My kids do, because they think firefighters are much cooler than I am. Besides, it’s just a very interesting field trip.
2. Make up a game where your kids have to “stay low and go” or “stop, drop, and roll.” For instance, Simon says stay low and go! You may already know, “stay low and go” refers to the technique for exiting a smoke-filled room by crawling in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed or disoriented by smoke. “Stop, drop and roll” refers to the technique for helping to extinguish a fire when the clothing a person is wearing is involved.
3. Teach your children they are not to hide when there is a fire, even if they are afraid of punishment because they started it.
4. Develop with your children a family fire escape plan and then practice getting out of the house quickly and safely during both daytime and nighttime practice runs.
5. Remind your children not to play in the kitchen, and never, ever play near the stove. A surgeon friend of mine once told me the worst injury he had ever seen in the emergency room was a child burned by a pot of boiling water pulled down on himself from the stove.
Fire can be beautiful and alluring, but it can also devastate quickly and completely. Be prepared and be safe.