Curious Kids Set Fires: A Factsheet
for Teaching Children Fire Safety
Every day Americans experience
the tragedy of fire. Each year more than 4,000 Americans die in fires and
more than 25,000 are injured. Figures show that each year about 300 people
are killed and $280 million in property is destroyed in fires attributed
to children playing with fire.
The Haworth Volunteer Fire
Department and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) encourage
parents to teach children at an early age about the dangers of fireplay
in an effort to prevent child injuries, fire deaths and firesetting behavior
in the future. Below are some facts about children and fire safety.
Curious Kids Set Fires
Children under five are
curious about fire. Often what begins as a natural exploration of the unknown
can lead to tragedy.
Practice Fire Safety in
Children of all ages set over
100,000 fires annually. Approximately 20,000 of those fires are set in
Children make up 20% of all
Over 30% of the fires that
kill children are set by children playing with fire.
At home, children usually play
with fire in bedrooms, in closets and under beds. These are "secret" places
where there are a lot of things that catch fire easily.
Too often, child firesetters
are not given proper guidance and supervision by parents and teachers.
Consequently, they repeat their firesetting behavior.
Finally, having a working smoke
alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember
to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.
Supervise young children closely.
Do not leave them alone even for short periods of time.
Keep matches and lighters in
a secured drawer or cabinet.
Have your children tell you
when they find matches and lighters.
Check under beds and in closets
for burned matches, evidence your child may be playing with fire.
Develop a home fire escape
plan, practice it with your children and designate a meeting place outside.
Take the mystery out of fire
play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
Teach children the nature of
fire. It is FAST, HOT, DARK and DEADLY!
Teach children not to hide
from firefighters, but to get out quickly and call for help from another
Show children how to crawl
low on the floor, below the smoke, to get out of the house and stay out
in the case of fire.
Demonstrate how to stop, drop
to the ground and roll if their clothes catch fire.
Install smoke alarms on every
level in your home.
Familiarize children with the
sound of your smoke alarm.
Test the smoke alarm each month
and replace the battery at least once a year.
Replace the smoke alarm every
ten years, or as recommended by the manufacturer.