Fire safety ladder, yes or no?


The season of Christmas lights and candles is upon us. This Best Shot Monday is Manic Monday — my confusion about fire safety. Of course, once you start lifting rocks to find out what’s underneath, you find things you had not expected.

First, let me say that I love Safety Town. Last summer, when we were in the throes of Safety Town Bliss, my child was a miniature safety patrol officer himself; hunting through my house to find any violations. “Mom, when was the last time you changed the smoke alarm batteries?” “Mom, we have to stop, look and listen at every railroad crossing,” and once, when I asked him to put some folded towels away on a shelf, he responded, “Mom, I’m not supposed to touch things I’m not familiar with.”

Then there is this issue, “Mom, we have to get a fire safety ladder right away.”

The fire safety ladder. The topic came in a special memo, direct from the Fire Safety Education Coordinator (FSEC), warning us to buy the ladder right away. Before rushing out to buy the ladder, I pause. My children are climbers. You can see them here. There is no mountain too treacherous or fearful for them to climb. If there is no way up there, they’ll make their own path.


The thought of them alone in their room with a ladder makes me feel uneasy. However, this portion from the FSEC letter makes me even more nervous:

Explain to (your child) that if they have to use the window because the bedroom door is blocked or too hot, and they don’t have an escape ladder or a porch or roof to climb onto, they should open the window, wave a pillow case or sheet or blanket out the window, and scream for help. They should stay low by the window in case smoke enters their room. By doing this, the fire department will be able to see and hear them, or a neighbor might be able to help before the fire department arrives.”

Quite a horrifying image. There is no roof outside of their window for them to climb onto. So, I began researching the fire safety ladder. I found quite a can of worms in that industry. Kiddie is a mass producer of fire safety ladders. They actually ripped off their ladder design from two starving college students, who created the safest, strongest, smallest and easiest- to-use X-IT Ladder. Due to Kiddie’s presence in the marketplace, their ladders are sold everywhere. But buyer beware. Their “knocked-off version” actually melts during a fire. According to Lawyers USA:

Despite the verdict, Kidde has never recalled the thousands of ladders sold to American households. As far as we know, there are 16,606 flammable fire escape ladders that are still out there and haven’t been recalled.”

Maybe we should just all sleep together in the same room. But, according to this, even the mattress isn’t safe. So, do you have a fire safety ladder for your child? If you are interested, find out about the awesome X-IT Ladder on their home page. Despite the legal battle, the Kiddie is still sold everywhere, but the X-IT, original is thankfully still available and you can read about it on their web site.

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24 comments to “Fire safety ladder, yes or no?”
  1. We have fire safety ladders in each upstairs bedroom, yep. The kids know they’re there but they’re too little to use them – but we sleep on the same floor, so…
    Geez, that’s scary to even think about. Ick.

  2. Beck — you’re too cool to already have one. MelodyA — as if our minds are not already full with things to worry about.
    Brittany — we’ve had the 911 thing. That’s not too fun when the policeman shows up.

  3. Wow – such a tough topic isn’t it – you don’t want to tell them too much that makes them over confident and then not too little to make it so they are un-educated.

    We don’t have a ladder for our kids – they are 2 and 5 so a bit young – but we have done a walk through with our 5 year old and he understands as much as he can at that age. Well we hope.

  4. I don’t but we have a roof right outside. I have also explained to the kids that i will not get mad if they have to break something to get out of a fire. I started thinking of them afraid to break a window to get out because they thought they would get in trouble.

    We used to have fire drills when I ran a daycare. Have not done it in a while but I think we need to.

  5. Zephra, I had not thought of that. Would they be afraid to break the window 1) because the glass would cut them, or 2) that they would get in trouble.
    Good points for discussion tonight with the kids.

  6. I’ve thought so much about this too. Right now we have just one floor but in the future we hope to have two and it seems so daunting and scary of what the right precautions are to take.

    That’s horrible about the melting ladders!

  7. for now i’m just hoping that the jumping onto the roof below will be okay, but i do always wonder if it has a fire under it as well . . . in that case I reckon the fire ladder wouldn’t help either . . . something to think about fo sure! BUT I did read in my tenancy agreement that I’m required to check my smoke detector once a month, which I reckon’s a good thing to remind people to do as well, since I doubt it’s normal procedure in most houses.

    are tot-spotter signs still around? i remember having one of those on my window as a kid growing up so that firemen knew to look for wee children who might be hinding under beds.

  8. single story here so no ladder, BUT we have crank out windows that would be pretty hard to escape from! i’ve often worried what we would do if we were trapped in the back of our burning house…. *shudder*

  9. single story here, but in the house i grew up in we had no fire ladder. but (glad im too old to be scolded) without my parents knowledge *i think* my two best friends and i would go out my back bedroom window, down a TERRIFYINGLY steep tin roof, to another lower part of the house, (we were 3 stories high in my room as it was more of an attic type loft room) then all they way across that roof to the back where the back of the house was partially underground so we only had to jump off about 4 feet.

    i know what you mean, im terrified of fire, and what my boys would do, they are so little, dylan wouldn’t even stand a chance, he cant even get out of his crib. 🙁

  10. Eek! I’ve never even thought about it – we don’t have a fire ladder, but we’ll definitely need one. The kids are both too little now to be able to use one, but soon enough I’m sure that won’t be the case! But I agree – they are climbers, and having a ladder around is going to be mighty tempting!

  11. When we moved into the top floor of a high-rise in NYC we had to cover fire information and how to escape. But covering topics like this is important mothering. Just like teaching teens what they need to know about alcohol and other dangers… even if you think they won’t do it.

  12. Safety ladder, hmm…what, no ‘every living space should be equipped with a halon-based fire suppressant system or suitable carbon-dioxide alternative’; ‘doors should be rated to withstand a minimum of four thousand (F) degrees for fifteen minutes’; a Safety Evacuation Chute System shall be installed in every room where a Safety Ladder is not practical’; ‘Nomex or Nomex-based sleepwear shall be used by all permanent household residents’.

    Sheesh. Break out the marshmallows.

  13. I think ladders are a great idea…sure there’s some teaching required, and you need to know the capabilities of your younger children, but it’s always better to have OPTIONS than NO OPTIONS.

    With all of the recent fires (Ocean Isle, Rochester etc.) I have been wondering what a difference a ladder could have made???

    We found a ladder that we like called PEARL…it’s permanent…installed in the wall below the window…the company says that the temporary ladders take time to find and install when seconds matter.

    We just think of this as insurance!

  14. We have a fire safety ladder in the kids’ bedroom, and when they were little, we practiced using it. It took a few times to get the hang of climbing out the window onto this dangling ladder. We actually had lots of fun doing the fire drills, with me timing them and us racing to beat our record, until suddenly we were getting too competitive and I realized that having my kids fling themselves out of upper story windows in an attempt to beat a record was perhaps not the safest thing to do ….

  15. I always meant to get one in the UK where everyone lives in two story houses but never did. Now I’m back in Australia I don’t think of it cos houses here are bungalows, except, oh dear, we live in a two story house! (duh-oh)

    Love your photo of the piles of stools…looks like something my daughter would have done.:-) Sometimes I think we got this far more by good luck than good management……

  16. We have a 2 story home, and after reading some horror stories about people being trapped in their homes, we started to do some research on the products. After talking wtih fire professionals and friends, we realized that in an emergency we just wanted to have the ability to get out. The portable ladders we saw, just did not look all that safe and or easy to deploy, especially in an emergency situation, or if it was dark. So we opted for a permanent escape ladder that is built into the wall below the window. We have kids aged 3 and 1.5 and neither one of them has really taken hard notice of its presence. The think I liked about these Pearl ladders, is that they can be tested and reused. I hope I never have to use them in an emergency, but when I did test one of them, it was much sturdier then I imagined it would be. At the appropriate time, I will teach my older son how to throw it out the window in an emergency, and then wait for someone to come up an get him. Probably at age 4.

  17. my 5 year-old son and i practiced fire drill numerous times when we got out the fog machine to decorate for halloween this year. it was great – you couldn’t see because the fog was so thick and he made sure to tell me “stay low mommie to get away from the smoke.” I showed him how to open the windows, and if he couldn’t get either the window open or even couldn’t get the screen open, how to break the window to get out. I thought for sure that I would be replacing several windows after that but he totally shocked me. I saw him pretending to get out and he showed everybody that happened to stop by what they had to do at our house to get out if there was a fire – he hasn’t shown any interest in “playing” with the windows, etc., like I thought for sure would happen. Today I asked my parents to get me a safety ladder for Christmas. This web site was very helpful – I just hope we never need to use the ladder. Better to be safe than sorry.

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