Planning and prevention are the keys to fire safety. Protect yourself and the children you're watching against fire by taking simple precautions.
- Every household should have an escape plan. When you babysit, discuss with the parents what to do in case of fire. Be familiar with the home at which you are babysitting. Learn all the exits and know how to unlock all the doors and windows. Know two ways out of every room, especially bedrooms.
- All households should have a meeting place outside where everyone meets after escaping a fire. Have the parents show you the meeting place and don't confuse the children with a different plan. Discuss the escape plan and meeting place with the children. Make sure every child knows where to meet outside.
- Be sure to have a listing of all emergency numbers and a number where the parents can be reached. Also, be sure to know the location of a neighbor who will be home. In case of a fire, call the fire department from a neighbor's phone.
- Cook only if you have cooking experience and you have permission from the parents.
- Never leave the kitchen area while cooking until you have turned everything off.
- Don't let pot handles stick out over the edge of the stove where they can be bumped or grabbed. Turn them in, pointing toward the back of the stove to prevent spilling of hot liquid.
- Never put anything into a microwave unless you are absolutely sure it is safe. Paper, glass, and microwave-proof earthenware are safe. In many cases, metals are not. Keep children away from the microwave. Be careful when removing covers from microwave containers; escaping steam can cause severe burns. Cool all foods sufficiently before serving them to children.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach and sight of children.
- Keep everything, including children, at least 3 feet away from space heaters.
- Keep children in your sight at all times. While they are sleeping, make sure that you can hear them should they wake up.
In Case of Fire
- Stop, Drop, and Roll. If your clothing catches fire, remember don't run. Drop to the ground and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over until the fire goes out. Babysitters may have to help children do this. Pull the child to the ground and roll him or her over and over to smother the flames.
- Get Out! Stay Out! If you smell smoke, hear a smoke alarm, or see flames, everyone is to get out immediately. Go directly to your meeting place. Never go back inside.
- Crawl Low Under Smoke. If you encounter smoke while you are escaping a fire, use another exit route. If you must escape through smoke, remember that heat and smoke rise, so cleaner air is always near the floor. Crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches above the floor. Go first, making sure the children follow you.
- Call the fire department. Take the children to a neighbor's home and call 9-1-1. Don't hang up until the 9-1-1 operator tells you its ok to hang up. Then call the children's parents.