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Children and the Elderly

Information about fire safety for children and older adults.

Children and Fire

In 2001, an estimated 99,400 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for burn-related injuries. Young children are particularly vulnerable to burn-related injuries and death. Young children’s skin is thinner than adults’ and can suffer serious burns more quickly.

  • Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children’s sight and reach.
  • Keep kids way from cooking areas, fireplaces, and all other open heat sources.

Smoke Alarms save lives. Having a smoke alarm in your home cuts your chance of dying in a fire by nearly half. Test the alarm monthly and change batteries twice a year or when it “chirps”.

It is essential for children to learn and practice fire safety tips.

Here are some helpful rules to know:

  • Plan and practice a home fire escape plan.
  • Know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Stop, Drop, and Roll if clothes catch on fire.
    • STOP immediately.
    • DROP to the ground.
    • ROLL over and over, covering your face and mouth with your hands.
  • Matches and lighters are not toys. They are for adults only.
  • Keep children away from any source of heat to prevent burn injuries

Fire Safety for the Elderly

People 65-years-old and older are at a significantly higher risk of dying in home fires than the rest of the general population. The risk of fire death increases exponentially with every new decade of age after a person reaches 65.

Compared to the rest of the U.S. population:

  • People between 65 and 74 are nearly TWICE as likely to die in a fire.
  • People between 75 and 84 are nearly FOUR times as likely to die in a fire.
  • People ages 85 and older are more than FIVE times as likely to die in a fire.

It’s the simple precautionary measures that older adults sometimes forget to do like wearing tight-fitting clothes while cooking, being extra vigilant when smoking and paying extra attention when using heaters. All of those factors can mean the difference between life and death.

Learn more about fire and the Older Adult from the U.S. Fire Administration.