FIRE STOPS WITH YOU
Curious Kids Set Fires:
A Fact sheet for Teaching Children Fire Safety
Every day Americans experience the tragedy of fire. Each year more than 5,000 Americans
die in fires and more than 25,000 are injured. Figures show that each year about 450
people are killed and $300 million in property is destroyed in fires attributed to
children playing with fire.
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) encourages 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
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.
- Children of all ages set over 100,000 fires annually. Approximately 25,000 of those
fires are set in homes.
- Children make up between 20% - 25% of all fire deaths.
- 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.
Practice Fire Safety in Your Home
- Supervise young children closely. Do not leave them alone even for short periods of
- 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
- Develop a home fire escape plan, practice it with your children and designate a meeting
- 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 location.
- 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.
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.
For More Information Contact:
The United States Fire Administration
Office of Fire Management Programs
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
This document was created by the USFA: : www.usfa.fema.gov