Parent’s Safety Tips
Children playing with fire cause hundreds of deaths and injuries each year.
Preschoolers and kindergartners are most likely to start these fires, typically by
playing with matches and lighters, and are most likely to die in them.
Children and fire are a
deadly combination.
Some children play with
fire out of curiosity, not
realizing its danger.
Troubled children may
set a fire as a way of
acting out their anger,
disappointment or
If you suspect your child is
intentionally setting fires or
unusually fascinated with fire, get
help. Your local fire department,
school, or community counseling
agency can put you in touch with
trained experts who know how
to teach children about fire
in an appropriate way.
Children experience fire interest. They may ask questions such as
how hot is fire or show an interest in fire through playing with fire
trucks or cooking on a play stove. This is healthy, and it is time to
begin educating about fire.
Firestarting happens when children begin to experiment with
fire using matches and lighters. Many fires happen when young
children are left alone, even for a short period of time, and have
access to matches and lighters. Parents must have clear rules and
consequences about fire misuse.
Grown-ups can help keep fire out of the hands of children.
Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight,
up high, preferably in a locked cabinet or container.
Never leave matches or lighters in a bedroom or any place
where children may go without supervision.
Teach young children and school-age children to tell a grown-up
if they see matches or lighters. Children need to understand
that fire is difficult to control, it is fast and can hurt as soon as it
touches you.
A child with an interest in fire can lead to fire starting and result in
repeated firesetting behavior.
It is important for grown-ups to discourage unsupervised fire starts.
Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement for
children; they may imitate you.
Never assign a young child any tasks that involve the use of a
lighter or matches (lighting candles, bringing a lighter to an adult
to light a cigarette or the fireplace, etc.)
If your child expresses curiosity about fire or has been playing
with fire, calmly but firmly explain that matches and lighters are
tools for adults only.
Use only lighters designed with child-resistant features.
Remember, child-resistant does not mean child-proof.
NFPA Public Education Division 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169
Your Source for SAFETY Information ©NFPA 2016
Duluth Fire Marshal