Curious Kids Set Fires
There's something fascinating about fire. Adults and children are entranced by crackling campfires, comforted by the warmth of a wood-burning stove, even mesmerized by glowing candlelight. It's no wonder that even toddlers are curious about how to make fire, what it feels like, and how it looks. Yet when young children lack the understanding of fire's danger, the results can be devastating and even deadly.
According to the US Fire Administration (USFA), about 300 people are killed and $280 million in property is destroyed annually in incidents attributed to children playing with fire. Children under age 5 are naturally curious about fire, and what often begins as exploration of an intriguing element can become tragic; the USFA estimates children of all ages set more than 100,000 fires annually, and more than 30 percent of the fires that kill children are set by children playing with fire. Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that most of the people killed in child-set fires are younger than 6; such fires are the leading cause of fire deaths among preschoolers.
Yet fires started by children are largely preventable. It is crucial that parents offer proper guidance to even very young children about the dangers of fire to avoid burns, fire deaths, and fire setting. Parents should also serve as positive role models when handling matches and lighters or dealing with fires, and should teach children what to do in case of fire, regardless of how a fire starts.