Let’s just say that growing up with two older brothers exposed me to a lot of stuff. Mostly, I take the high road and choose not to talk about what I’ve seen (and perhaps participated in) as a curious, unsupervised child. But in light of Fire Prevention Week, it seems fitting I share.
As I read over some common fire myths, one of them being – Most children know not to play with matches – I was reminded of something my eldest brother did at the tender age of 12. Now, you would think a 12-year-old knows better, but in this case, stupidity and/or ignorance prevailed.
It was a Saturday like any other, all of us children lounging around the Family room watching TV, my brother, smartly dressed in his pajamas and housecoat. Slightly bored and armed with a lighter (my parents smoked back in the day) my brother thought he’d tidy up the unraveled threads on his terry robe by [drumroll please] burning them off.
Yes, this worked wonderfully until, POOF, his housecoat caught fire and he lit up like a Christmas tree. For those of us watching (my other brother and sister) this was hilarious – soooo much more entertaining than cartoons. But, for my bro… well, lighting yourself on fire really puts a damper on things. Fortunately, he knew well enough to stop, drop and roll and no one was harmed. Yup, this really happened.
So, the lesson to be learned here is:
1. I have an idiot for a brother (I know – not a lesson, but really felt this should be stressed) and
2. Even with the best efforts from parents, kids might play with fire. The best practice is to practice fire safety on a regular basis.
It is important to teach children about fire:
- Teach children that fire is a tool, not a toy. Talk about the use of fire as a tool we use to cook food, heat our homes, make repairs, and light birthday candles.
- Educate your children about the dangers of fire and make sure they know that all fires, even small ones, can spread very quickly.
- Provide opportunities for school-aged children to understand the safe use of fire (such as lighting birthday candles) under your supervision.
- Teach your child how to say NO when friends suggest playing with fire.