- Children make up 15-20% of all fire deaths .
- Every year kids set over 35,000 fires. About 8,000 of those are set in homes .
- Children as young as age two can strike a match and start a fire.
- Most child fire-play incidents involve matches or lighters , so keep these locked up and out of reach of children.
- For more stats visit the United States Fire Administration’s fire statistics page.
Never leave children alone and unsupervised.
- You should install at least one smoke detector on every level of your house.
- Kitchens, the tops of stairwells, and halls outside bedrooms are strategic locations.
- They are available at hardware stores and discount stores.
- They are not expensive.
- Having working smoke alarms in your home can double your chances of surviving a fire.
- Regularly vacuum above and around smoke alarms to keep them free of dust.
- Replace batteries at least every year.
- Test smoke alarms periodically.
- Replace smoke alarms after 10 years or as the manufacturer recommends.
- What you need to know about smoke alarms from the US Fire Administration.
- Smoke alarms can save your life—this brochure from the CPSC has diagrams that show the best places to install smoke alarms.
- In Spanish: Los detectores de humo pueden salvarle la vida.
Here are some important things to talk about, teach and practice with your kids::
- Talk about and practice your home fire escape plan with your children.
- Do not play with matches, candles, or lighters.
- Fire is FAST, HOT, DARK AND DEADLY!
- Do not hide from firefighters—teach your kids what they look like and sound like with their oxygen masks on. Here's a story with pictures of a firefighter putting on all his gear to read with your kids: Firefighters are My Friends.
- Show kids how to crawl low on the floor, below the smoke.
- If there is a fire in the house, get out and stay out.
- Stop, drop and roll if clothes catch fire.
- Do not pick up matches or lighters they find, instead, tell an adult about them immediately.
- Do not go too near wood stoves, radiators, heaters and fireplaces—clothes can catch fire.
- Do not put anything on, or drop anything into radiators or heaters.
- Cook only with permission and supervision.
- Never play with electrical cords or electrical sockets.
- Get help from an adult with plugging things into wall sockets.
- Practice fire safety skills regularly with your kids.
- Visit the United States Fire Administration's Kids' Page with your child to play on the Web and learn more about fire safety.
There are many reasons kids might set fires—sometimes it’s a cry for help, or a sign or a sign of serious problems. However, kids usually start fires simply out of curiosity or by accident. If your child has played with fire, it’s probably a good idea to talk to your pediatrician about making sure there’s not an underlying problem. Different kinds of fire-setting require different treatments.
- Go through your home with Your Home Fire Safety Checklist to make sure you are doing all you can to prevent tragedy.
- Fire/Burn Injury Prevention—Find out all about household safety, gasoline safety, preventing scald burns and safe sleepwear from the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center.
- The UM Trauma Burn Center offers many wonderful community outreach programs, including a fire injury prevention program for young people.
- Be prepared. See these tips on burn first aid.
- The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) provides public education, training, technology and data initiatives to promote fire safety.
- USFA en Español
- The National Fire Protection Association is an international nonprofit and an authority on fire, electrical, and building safety.
- FireSafety.gov is a Federal Web portal with listings of fire safety resources from a number of government agencies.
- SmokeyBear.com offers information about preventing wildfires and has a kids’ section.
- Fire Safety publications from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Written and compiled by Kyla Boyse, RN.
Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan.
Updated April 2010