From grilling burgers and hot dogs to roasting marshmallows and gathering around the fire for storytelling, owning a fire pit will open the doors to a whole new world of family-friendly activities. But with this fun and versatile accessory comes the responsibility of teaching children the basics of fire safety.
Being that they are used to burn wood and coal, fire pits can produce some pretty high temperatures. It’s not uncommon for a fire pit to exceed 700 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than enough to cause burns.
To prevent injury and encourage responsible use, parents should teach their children to respect fire. Children are curious by nature and will often touch new things in their environment. Explain to your child that fires can be dangerous, and that they should stay at least several feet away from an open fire at all times.
Children may assume that it’s okay to touch a fire pit after the flame has died down. Even if there is no visible flame, however, the actual fire pit may still radiate enough heat to cause a serious burn. So if you’re a parent, warn your child about the dangers of touching a recently lit fire pit. You can even conduct a hands-on demonstration by pouring just a couple droplets of water on the fire pit, which should cause it to simmer and evaporate if it’s still hot.
If a child notices his or her parent adding wood to a fire pit, they may assume that it’s okay to place other items inside the fire pit. But adding foreign objects to a fire pit is a serious safety hazard that will increase the risk of injury. Tell your children to avoid placing foreign objects and items inside a fire pit — or any fire for that matter.
Rather than prohibiting your child from seeing and experiencing the fire pit, ask them to participate. Some parents may shield their children, assuming it will protect them from injury. In doing so, however, they spark curiosity, which only drives the child to seek out fire pits without the supervision of their parents. If you’re planning a fire one evening, ask your child to participate by gathering wood and observing as you light it. Over time, your child will become accustomed to the process of lighting and using a fire pit.
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