Top 5 Winter Safety Tips for Kids

Don't Mess with Fire
A winter fire is cozy, but mind the children while it burns.
A winter fire is cozy, but mind the children while it burns.
Lottie Davies/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Once your kids come in from a long day of sledding and building snowmen, they'll probably want to relax in front of a hot fire, or at least enjoy some central heat. No matter how you heat your home, fires are a huge risk for families in the winter months. Before building a fire, install a smoke alarm on every floor of the home; you may also need a carbon monoxide detector, as this silent killer gives no warning of its presence.

If you use a fireplace, be sure that the screen is firmly attached, not free-standing, as a child could knock it over. You may want to install an extra fireplace gate if you have particularly adventurous tots on your hands, but regardless of how well-guarded the fireplace is, you should never leave a child unattended in a room where a fire is burning. Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach.

Thousands of fires each year are caused by space heaters. Don't let a child get too close to a space heater. In fact, don't let anything get too close to a space heater -- it should always be at least 3 feet (91 centimeters) away from particularly flammable things like curtains, bedding or furniture [source: Debrovner]. These devices should be turned off when you leave the room and when you go to sleep.

Even if you see yourself as the king or queen of fire safety, create a fire safety plan for your family and have fire drills for your children.