Fire Prevention Week is October 9th-16th!
We all know it’s important to be prepared for the worst, but how do you do that with very young children? I’m joining ConsumerSafety.org to share some activities for toddlers and preschoolers that will help young children better understand and feel secure in dangerous situations such as a fire at home.
Imagine that you are two or three years old. About three feet tall. You house is suddenly filling up with smoke, and you can’t find Mommy. You’re getting hot. You don’t know what to do. All of a sudden, a giant, unrecognizable creature enters the room and tries to pick you up. It doesn’t look like anyone you know — it doesn’t even look like a person. It looks like a monster. So you run away. Without knowing it, you run away from safety. And you might not make it out alive.
I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but that is what’s at stake for your child if you don’t help prepare her for that kind of situation.
Firefighters are very scary to young children. They don’t understand that they are there to help. So your first job is to help them become familiar with firefighters and what they do.
A great first step is to visit your local fire station. Call them to see if they have scheduled times to meet with kids or if they are having an event at your local library or fair anytime soon. If your child is able to interact with real firefighters and learn about all of their equipment and what it is used for, she will be more likely to recognize a firefighter as safe in a dangerous situation.
When I was a toddler teacher, one of my favorite songs to sing in class was about firefighters. This song goes through everything the firefighter has to do to prepare to put out a fire, and the children love doing the motions along with the words:
Hurry, hurry, put your boots on, (pretend to step into boots)
Hurry, hurry, put your boots on,
Hurry, hurry, put your boots on,
Ding ding ding ding ding!
Hurry, hurry, put your hat on… (pretend to put a hat on)
Hurry, hurry, drive the firetruck… (pretend to drive)
Hurry, hurry, climb the ladder… (pretend to climb a ladder)
Hurry, hurry, squirt the water… (pretend to squirt water from a hose)
You can also try this fun Simon Says-style game from Consumer Safety:
To play, first go through each of the situations and demonstrate the actions that the children should take. Once those have been mastered, play the game like Simon Says. For a free printable version of this game, click here.
If your child is old enough/tall enough to open the door by herself, come up with a family plan of where you will meet outside if there is a fire in your house. You can even make a map and keep it by the doors so your child will be reminded of where the meeting place is in case of emergency. Practice the route so she feels comfortable going there by herself.
For more fire safety tips, visit Consumer Safety’s Fire Safety Guide.
5 thoughts on “Fire Prevention Week Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers”
I never thought about how scary a firefighter could look to a little child. Thank you! I will make sure to teach my son what firefighters look like and that they are ok.
Yes — I have seen so many young children cower in fear when firefighters walked through our school during fire drills. It would be ten times scarier when you add in an actual fire!
These are such good points and good things to practice! Thank you!
I have also seen stickers to put on the front and back doors that say how many adults, children and pets live there. I need to get those!
That’s a good idea!
I’m definitely going to try this out. I never thought about fire safety other than the basic things we always tell our children. Great post.
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