Thursday, June 24, 2010

Are your children safe?

My son Morgan is a cub scout. He is also schooled at home. I have found that combining his schoolwork and his scout work helps him spend more time on studies without feeling like he is "working"...and thus, we accomplish more in both categories: school & scouts.

Recently, he had one requirement left in his book to achieve a new rank: he had to go to the fire department. Luckily, we just got a new one about 2 or 3 miles down the road from our house! So Monday afternoon, we all piled into our car and headed to the fire station. Morgan asked his questions and got his answers, and then he wanted to see a fire truck. The wonderful firefighter on duty that day showed Morgan around and let him sit inside the truck and see all the great gadgets. He turned on the siren and lights for him and took pictures with him. He was awesome!
During our adventure there, the fireman asked ME a question. He wanted to know if I let my kids sleep with their door shut. I said "oh no! I don't! They keep the doors open." He said that if he could make one change in our lives, it would be our sleeping habits. He said "Please have your children sleep with their doors shut." I was dumbfounded! After all, how do you hear your children cry in the night with the door shut? How do you know something is wrong with the door shut? What kind of mother shuts bedroom doors at night and cuts herself off from them? I'll tell you! A mother who is protecting her children in case of fire.

The fireman tells me that more people die from smoke inhalation and heat than from actually burning in a house fire. He told me that if the doors are open, smoke and fumes and flames can rush right in. If you are in bed and the smoke alarm goes off, chances are that you will sit up straight in bed, inhale and pass out before you can get out of your room to help your family. If your door is closed, you give yourself several extra minutes to get out a window without suffering the effects from the fire. He showed us to touch the door with the back of our hand and move it upward to see how high up we can go before heat bothers us. THAT is the level of smoke and fire on the other side of the door. And if the door is hot, the fire is near. That tells us "go out the window instead." Something as simple as sleeping with your bedroom door closed can give you precious extra minutes to get to safety.

As a family, we already have an escape plan and already have a meeting place chosen outside. We already talked about going out windows and which doors and what hazards we have to take care of NOW before something could happen. We've not had actual fire drills, but if we did, that practice would create a memory in our minds and we would automatically do something similar during a real fire. And now we have one more tool to protect us.... closed doors at night.

Moms, if you are truly uncomfortable having your children's doors closed at night, then invest in baby monitors and place them next to your bed. You will hear the sounds from their rooms even better that way.

So ask yourself again,.... are YOUR children protected?


  1. Half of my children sleep with the doors shut. The little ones who I don't want wandering the halls! I have never thought about it for everyone else as a fire deterrent. Thanks for passing on the message.

  2. Excellent advice that I hadn't thought of. I have always slept with the bedroom door open because the air circulation in our house is better. Thanks for the thought-provoking comments.