My eight-year-old had a check-up at the doctor. I had him prepared for all of the questioning:
- What do you use for safety in the car? A seat belt.
- How much TV do you watch? Not much.
- Do you eat lots of fruits and vegetables every day? Yes (give examples).
- Do you exercise every day? Yes (give examples).
So easy! But he wasn’t prepared for this: Let’s say your house is on fire, what do you do?
A fire?! No one’s house catches on fire. My son was prepared for the question about the old lady who pulls over in her van asking for help finding her lost puppy.
He answers simply, “I would stop, drop, and roll.” Good answer!
His doctor says, “Your clothes aren’t on fire. Your house is. You open your bedroom door and there’s smoke everywhere.” Freak the kid out, why don’t you.
He thinks for a second and says, “I would climb out of my window.”
“Yes!” she exclaims. “Now you hear your Mom calling for help. She’s trapped. What do you do?”
I’m trapped? WTH.
A worried look on his face but he answers confidently, “I would go in to help her.”
Aw, what a sweetie! Yeah, no. Wrong answer.
The doctor continues, “No, you call…” And she pretended to hold a phone to her ear.
“I call 9-1-1!” he yells.
“Yes!” she exclaims. Whew! He passed the fire quiz.
After the appointment, my son was worried and was full of questions.
- Mom, how does a fire start?
- Mom, would you really get trapped?
- Have you ever been in a fire?
- If I climb out of my window, I would need to jump off the roof. But if I jump off the roof, will I die or just break my leg?
I reassured him how rare it is for houses to catch on fire. “It will probably never happen. Look at me. See how old I am? I’ve never had a fire in the house.” (Well, except the time the microwave popcorn caught on fire…and when the dishtowel was too close to the open gas flame…and when the log rolled out of the fireplace, nearly catching the rug on fire.)
My son seemed relieved.
But check this out.
The VERY next day, a house in the neighboring neighborhood caught on fire and burned down to the ground. In like three hours. The family got out safely, but nothing else was left, but ashes and rubble.
A real-life reminder that while we were not prepared for the doctor’s questions, we need to be better prepared for a fire. Check out HealthyChildren.org for good information on fire safety for families.