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General Information

Experimentation with fire among children and teens is a major problem nationally. National Safe Kids notes that over one-third of children ages 6 to 14 report playing with fire at least once. This is an extremely dangerous behavior that frequently leads to tragedy. According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), 58% of all reported child fire injuries and 62% of child fire deaths are attributed to children playing with fire. The US Fire Administration reports that half of all arson arrests are juveniles.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a Web page devoted to national statistics and facts about juvenile firesetting.

Safety tips

Many children who set a fire are acting on curiosity about fire. These tips will help children and families stay safe.

  • Keep matches, lighters, candles, fireworks, and other dangerous items locked and out of the reach of children.
  • Teach children that these items are tools, not toys, and not for children to use.
  • Teach children that if they find matches or lighters, they should not touch them, but get an adult to pick them up and put them away.