Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

Electrical/Fire Safety: For Kids' Sake

Health Plan of the Redwoods


Take Safety Precautions To Avoid Electrical/Fire Accidents
Every year thousands of children are seriously or fatally injured by electrical, fire and burn accidents. In fact, fire is the leading cause of death for children younger than 5, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Many tragedies can be avoided by following simple safety tips in your home.


Safeguard Against Electrical Hazards

Put plastic safety caps in all unused electrical outlets if your child is younger than 5.

Install safety covers on outlets in use to block the outlet when a plug is removed.

Place cribs, playpens, high chairs and other baby furniture away from electrical cords or appliances.

Replace any frayed or faulty electrical cords.

Be sure all light fixtures have bulbs in them.

Keep appliances such as hair dryers, radios and heaters well away from water, and unplug them when not in use. A child might accidentally push such items into the sink, tub or toilet.

Avoid overloading electrical outlets to keep heat from building up in electrical wires.

Do not allow children younger than 5 to use electrical toys. Check manufacturers' suggested age use levels, and make sure toys carry the Underwriters Laboratories' seal.

Do not place a Christmas tree near television sets or other heat sources, and be sure to turn off electric tree decorations when you go to bed or leave home.


Protect Your Child From Burns

Place matches and lighters out of children's sight and reach.

Set your hot-water heater below 115 degrees, and always test the water temperature before bathing your baby.

Place hot liquids out of children's reach, away from the edges of counters and tables.

Test the temperature of microwaved food before feeding it to your child. (Microwaving creates "hot spots.")

Make space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves inaccessible to children by using safety screens and fence-type guards.

Place hot appliances (and their cords) away from counter edges where children can easily pull them off.

Don't carry children while holding hot drinks, food or cigarettes.

Keep pot handles turned away from the stove's edge when cooking, and use back burners whenever possible.

Remove and place stove knobs out of children's reach whenever possible.

Make sure clothing, toys, tents, furniture and bedding are made of nonflammable materials.


Fireproof Your Home

The most important way to protect your family from fire is to install smoke detectors on all levels of your home. Test smoke detectors monthly, and change their batteries once a year on a date that's easy to remember.

Keep a fire extinguisher in a convenient location in your home. Learn how to use the extinguisher to put out a small fire or to clear an escape path.

Develop a fire escape plan for your family, including two exits from your home and an outside meeting place.

Have nighttime fire drills, and review your fire escape plan with babysitters.

Clean your fireplace, wood stove and/or chimneys at least once a year to avoid fires caused by creosote buildup. Keep flammable items such as papers, curtains and furniture a safe distance from such heat sources.


Teach your children to memorize:

If you smell smoke, drop low and go, go, go!

If your clothes catch fire--stop, drop and roll!


This brochure was produced by the Health Plan of the Redwoods' Health Promotion Unit to encourage child safety. HPR, a Sonoma County HMO, went out of business in October 2002.

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