Iowans are urged to help educate young children about fire safety, especially kids under age five who are most likely to die in housefires. Older kids may already know some basic fire safety from school, but Tom Olshinksi at the U-S Fire Administration office says younger kids often crawl under a bed instead of trying to escape from a burning home. Olshinski says firefighters will tell stories of childen found dead in toy boxes, under beds and in closets as they tend to run and hide. He says of the 339 residential fire deaths in Iowa over the past decade, 51 of them were children under age five. Olshinski says preventing fires is as important as knowing how to get out of a house when it’s on fire. Statistics find fires are the third leading cause of death for Iowa children age five and under, behind motor vehicle crashes and suffocation. He says children tend to mimic parents and other adults, so he recommends using child-proof lighters and keep matches out of reach. Also, dress kids in flame-proof sleepwear. Olshinski says develop a fire evacuation plan and practice it. He says a simple, inexpensive product is a huge factor in preventing fire deaths. He says 70-percent of fire deaths could have been prevented if the house had a working smoke detector. Some homes have detectors but the batteries are dead or missing. More information on fire safety is available at the U-S Fire Administration website: “www.usfaparents.gov”.
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