Children under five are naturally curious about fire. Many play with matches and lighters. Tragically, children cause many house fires every year. Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching your children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
Each year many Canadians are injured or die in fires. Unfortunately many of these emergencies are attributed to children playing with fire. Parents are encouraged 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. Children under five are curious about fire. Often what begins as a natural exploration of the unknown can lead to tragedy.
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.
- Supervise young children closely. Do not leave them alone even for short periods of time.
- 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 with fire.
- Develop a home fire escape plan, practice it with your children and designate a meeting place outside.
- 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 detectors on every level in your home.
- Familiarize children with the sound of your smoke detector.
- Test the smoke detector each month and replace the battery twice a year.
- Replace the smoke detector every ten years, or as recommended by the manufacturer.