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The Mother and Child Academic Hospital Foundation
MACAH | National Burns Awareness week: 6-12 May 2021
[Ethel Botha, Social Worker]

To reduce the high number of burn injuries in children in South Africa, we need to teach our children from a very young age about the risks of fire.

Fire safety is still the parent's responsibility. Although children can learn safety behaviours, it is sometimes difficult for them to correctly judge and react to fire situations. These are some essential things to remember at home:

Never leave children unattended. Fire holds a lot of curiosity for small children, and they may start fires or become involved in fires when they are left alone, even for short periods.

Keep matches and lighters high up out of reach of children.

Consider installing a smoke detector outside the bedrooms in your home.

Consider how you would evacuate your home in the event of a fire.

We aim to teach children fire and burn safety habits and develop resources to cope with the frightening effects of fire. These resources include skills that they can use and knowledge that others are available to help. The critical fire safety behaviours that your child should learn are:

  • • To stay away from hot things that can hurt them. 

  • • To tell an adult when they find matches or lighters.

  • • To 'Stop, Drop and Roll' if their clothes catch on fire. 

  • • To cool a burn with running water. 

  • • To recognise the sound of the fire alarm/smoke detector. 

  • • To crawl low under smoke. 

  • • To practice an escape plan. 

  • • To recognise a firefighter as a friend in the event of a fire.

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