Fire dangers in your home

Children are fascinated by fire. Teach them about fire risks. Children do not understand danger, supervise them at all times. Do not expect them to be able to look after themselves around fires.

Supervise children around fire hazards such as:

  • candles
  • stoves
  • open fires
  • heaters
  • barbecues
  • chip pans
  • electrical equipment

Heating, cooking equipment and electrical items can go on fire. Your child could also suffer from burns.


Preventing burns

Stoves, open fires and heaters

Always guard open fires with a spark-guard and a fireguard secured to the wall.

Cover stoves and heaters with a fireguard secured to the wall. Never put anything on top of a fireguard.

Keep portable heaters away from curtains and blinds as they could catch fire.

Make sure fireguards and spark-guards are secured to the wall.

Carbon monoxide

Blocked chimneys and flues, faulty or damaged heaters can cause carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Carbon monoxide gas can be released by any fuel that burns. This includes:

  • coal
  • turf
  • oil
  • gas
  • wood

It is colourless, odourless and can kill you. It is often called the silent killer.

You can reduce the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning by:

  • getting fuel-burning appliances serviced and chimneys cleaned every year
  • install at least one carbon monoxide alarm
  • don't run a car, lawnmower, generator or other engine-powered equipment in any confined spaces
  • make sure your family are aware of the dangers of CO poisoning

Chip pans

Chip pans are a fire risk. Consider a different method of cooking, for example, an electrical deep fat fryer or the oven.

A chip pan
A chip pan


Always clean your grill after use as fat and grease at the bottom of the grill can catch fire easily.


Keep children well away from barbecues. Burn injuries can occur in seconds.

Candles and flames

Keep lit candles or anything with a flame out of children's reach. For example, an oil or fragrance burner or incense sticks.

Never leave burning candles unattended. Always supervise children in a room where candles are lit.

Keep candles away from curtains, blinds, fabrics and other items as they may catch fire.

Matches and cigarette lighters

Keep matches and cigarette lighters out of sight and reach of children.

Electrical equipment

Children can burn themselves on some electrical appliances and equipment. This includes hairdryers, straighteners and irons.

Switch off and plug out electrical equipment:

  • when not in use
  • when you're going out
  • before you go to bed

This includes dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, laptops and computers.

Do not leave mobile phones charging when you go to bed or are not in the same room.

Do not leave charger leads plugged in to sockets when they are not in use.

Use short flexes or cords on electrical equipment where possible. This includes:

  • kettles
  • coffee makers
  • slow cookers
  • toasters

Short flexes and cords reduce the chances of your child being able to reach an electrical item and pull it down onto themselves. A long flex is also a strangulation risk.

Do not use damaged electrical appliances.

Electric blankets

Do not use electric blankets for young children. They could mess around with the blanket, flex or plug. This may result in injury to themselves or a fire.

Do not use damaged electric blankets. Check electric blankets and their flexes regularly for signs of wear and tear.

Make sure there are no creases in the electric blanket and it lies flat on the mattress.

Plug out electric blankets when you go to bed.

Plug sockets

Do not put too many plugs into a socket. Electrical sockets can become overloaded and a fire can start. This happens when too many plugs are using the same socket, for example on an extension lead.

Switch off and plug out electrical items when going to bed and going out.

Children's clothes

Try to buy children's clothing made of low-risk fire material.

Look out for 'Low flammability to I.S. 148' on labels. Clothes that don't meet this standard should have 'Keep away from fire' on the label. This will be written in capital letters and in red font.

If you child is wearing emollients

Emollients are oils, lotions and creams. They're usually used to treat dry skin conditions. They are very effective at this. But it is important to be aware of the fire risk linked with them.

If there is a build-up of emollient residue on clothing and bedding, this can quicken the speed of a fire.

Do not smoke near your baby or allow them near naked flames:

  • while they are wearing emollient
  • if they are wearing clothes or bandages that may have emollient on them

There is a fire risk with all paraffin-containing emollients.

There may also be a fire risk with paraffin-free emollients. There might also be a fire risk with other products that you put on skin over large body areas for more than a few days.

Washing clothing or fabric at a high temperature may reduce emollient build-up. But it might not totally remove it.


Remember, your baby’s treatment is important. Emollients are a very effective treatment for dry skin conditions. By making sure your baby is never around naked flames or lit cigarettes, you will keep them safe while they receive their treatment.

Page last reviewed: 4 June 2019
Next review due: 4 June 2022