Over the years, many families have affixed decals known as Tot-Finder® stickers to the window or door of a young child's room to alert firefighters to the presence of that child. The bright red and silver, reflective decals are emblazoned with the words "Tot Finder" and an image of a firefighter carrying a child to safety.
But the NFPA doesn't recommend using the stickers, citing two concerns:
- The decals might direct an intruding child abductor to a sleeping child; and
- If a child no longer sleeps in the bedroom with the decal - either because she has moved to a different room or is older and no longer needs the assistance of the sticker - it could waste valuable time for a firefighter trying to get the most vulnerable family member out of danger.
"We would much rather a family get together and plan a home fire escape plan that includes the whole family, where if there was a child who couldn't get out on his own, there was an adult assigned to that child and the child would get out," says Comoletti.
Window decals which identify the location of a child’s room are NOT the solution to home escape planning with small children. The NFPA recommends that all families install and regularly check smoke alarms for their effectiveness and that they develop and regularly practice a fire escape plan in their homes.
For more information on fire safety tips, visit the NFPA's Web site.
- Deirdre Wilson