Teaching Kids Fire Safety: A Parent's Peace of Mind

My boys were tiny when we lived on Long Island. I had three under the age of two.

It was actually Joey's idea - of course- that everyone crawl in here with Knox.

But that didn't stop me from going places - I had to! One of my frequent destinations was Target (naturally). To get to the Target, I had to drive about 20 minutes up the Meadowbrook State Parkway, which was surrounded on both sides by water for part of the distance.

As I drove, I would wonder what I would do if my van ever plunged over the side of the expressway and into the water. How would I get everyone out of the van? I don't think that made me crazy, just a typical mom who worries about the safety of her children ALL.THE.TIME. Planning things out just gives us peace of mind, right?

I never did figure out a plan for getting the baby out of the car seat, unbuckling the toddlers, and swimming us all to safety. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it now.

Our boys are older now, and we have definitely taught them ways to keep themselves safe. Stranger danger? Kick, scream, and run. Water safety? Wear a life jacket, never swim alone, and keep taking swim lessons (that's one of Mom's "non-negotiable" items). Fire safety? Exit the house immediately and meet the family in our designated spot.

Easy peasy.

Until, that is, my ten-year-old and I watched this FEMA/NFPA fire safety video, and we realized that we only have one planned escape route out of our house.

This video, called "What's that Sound?"  by Recess Monkey is geared toward second and third graders. It reminds your kids to "move their feet when they hear that beep." But it also talked about knowing two ways out, which is so important. I know my boys would panic if their main exit was blocked. When we finish building our new house, we will definitely go over all possible escape routes with the boys.

Another video, called "Little Rosalie" by Steve Songs, was actually my favorite of the two.

Geared toward pre-k to first graders, it goes over the four steps you should take after hearing the fire alarm. The tune is catchy, the four steps are repeated several times, and it made my boys want to create a big chart illustrating our escape plan (put that on the list of things to do!).

There are more videos, songs, stories, games, interactive e-books, and lesson plans for teachers on the website Sparky's Schoolhouse. This site is a wealth of information to everyone from parents to teachers to homeschooling mamas. If you need a fun and interactive way to teach any child about fire safety, this is place to be. You can never be too safe when it comes to anything concerning your child - fire especially!

This comes close to my heart, as we had a small fire at our house last fall. Luckily, it did not get out of control, I was the only one home at the time, and a quick thinking (and smelling) neighbor alerted me to the danger; but if it had happened while we were all sleeping, it could have gotten out of control very quickly.

Fire safety isn't something to mention once and then never again. A fire can happen to anyone. I just donated money to the family of a long time Kissing the Frog fan who lost their home and belongings in a fire. Show your kids the website, sing the songs, do the activities. You - and your peace of mind - will thank me for it later.

*And I thank WeAreTeachers, FEMA, and NFPA for sponsoring this post in which all of the opinions were my own.
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