To connect with a Junior Firesetter Program in your area: Click here.
Each year, 300 children die in youth related fires. Two of every fire deaths of preschool-aged children in home fires occur between 8AM – 4 PM. Death by fire is the leading cause of accidental death of children in the home. A child can easily start a fire by playing with matches or lighters.
What Can You Do?
The most effective intervention for curious children is proper adult supervision and fire safety education.
- Keep matches and lighters out of a child’s sight and reach. Even toddlers can use a lighter and kitchen matches to start a fire.
- Teach preschool children to TELL an adult if they find matches or lighters.
- Teach school age children to GIVE matches and lighters to an adult. Praise your child whenever he or she does this.
- Teach your child how to SAY NO when friends suggest playing with fire.
- Teach children that fire is a tool, not a toy. Talk about ways adults use different tools (cooking tools, repair and building tools, hobby tools).
- Explain how adults use matches to light candles, start a campfire or light a barbecue.
- Teach your school age child the safe use of fire. Provide opportunities for your child to light matches under adult supervision, such as lighting the candles on a birthday cake.
What Do You Do If Your Child Sets A Fire?
Find your child playing with matches or lighter? As a parent or caregiver of young children, take any firesetting seriously.
- Immediately report all fires to the Fire Department by calling 911.
- If your child set a fire, use an immediate consequence, such as taking away a privilege or using time-out.
- Depending on your child’s age talk (don’t lecture or scold) about the dangers of fire.
Have you tried everything you know to stop this behavior, but nothing seems to work? Don’t know what to do…afraid of what might happen if this firesetting activity continues? Curiosity about fire can be a natural but dangerous thing. If the firesetting activity seems to be a common occurrence with your child…this is not normal, and help is needed to find out why this is happening. Firesetting activities can be deadly…don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get help by checking our Juvenile Firesetter Program Resources
How Do You Get Help?
Contact your local Fire Department
- Most fire department have specially trained personnel to provide the proper course of action need to help children who are curious about fire.
- They contact an evaluation to determine whether the child just needs additional fire safety education or if they need professional counseling.
How Can The Community Help?
- Ask retailers to display lighters out of reach of children.
- Purchase childproof lighters.
- Support measures that allocate resources to children’s programs that emphasize safety education.
If you know or have a student that has started a fire or has a firesetting problem, please notify the parents or guardians of that child or call your local fire department.
The child who sets fires may be your child, the child next door or the child down the block
Fire Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility