Fire, electrical safety and children

House fires start in a number of ways. Some fires happen when children play with matches, lighters and electricity, at home or in vehicles.

You should also read about fire safety at home.

Keeping children safe from fire

Install a smoke detector and check the battery regularly.

Keep matches and lighters away from children.

Keep heaters away from curtains, furniture, clothing and bedding.

If using candles or oil burners, place them on a safe surface away from curtains or bedding. Never leave them lit when you leave the room, even for a little while.

Watch children closely around barbecues and campfires. Make sure campfires are properly put out and covered.

Use fireguards on open fires, gas or oil heaters, pot belly stoves and radiators.

Always keep keys for locked external doors within reach of the door.

Have a fire extinguisher or fire blanket in the kitchen, nearby but away from the stove or oven.

If a child has a burn, cool the burnt area under running cold water for at least 20 minutes. Never use ice to cool the skin. If the burn is bigger than a 20-cent piece, see a doctor or take your child to the hospital. 

Teach your child what to do if there's a fire

When someone dies in a house fire, it's usually from smoke or poisonous fumes. 

Teach your child the following:

  • yell and bang on the walls to let your family know of danger
  • don't open a door that's hot to touch - fire may be on the other side
  • walk, don't run, from a burning building
  • crawl under smoke - get down low and go away from the fire
  • stop, drop and roll if your clothes catch on fire - stop walking, drop to the ground and roll to put out the fire
  • treat any burns with cool running water
  • have a meeting place outside that everyone knows about
  • don't go back inside for pets or valuables.

Practice what to do when there's a fire

Close your eyes or cover them with a scarf and practice finding your way out of the house.

Make it fun so your children don't get scared but they will know what to do.

Tell your children to crawl to keep under smoke. Practice 'get down low and go, go, go' and 'stop, drop and roll'.

Practice getting out from different rooms.

Have more than one way to get out the house and meet at your special meeting place outside.

Children and electricity

Have a circuit breaker installed in your fuse box or switchboard. It will switch off the power if there is an electrical fault.

Check all electrical appliances for frayed cords, smoke or loose wiring.

Don't overload power points. Think about using a surge-protector for electronic and electrical devices.

Make sure all electrical appliances and their cords are out of reach of children.

Cover power points with plastic protectors to stop children poking things in them.

Be careful of electrical appliances near water - it's easy to get electrocuted.

Don't use electric blankets for young children.

Use only wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted fans in the bathroom. Install wall-mounted heaters up high.

More information

For more ideas, activities and tips go to the 7 Steps to Safety page on the Department of Children and Families website.

Last updated: 27 June 2017