Youth Fire Setting

young girl holding a burning match, looking down its flame

For children, interest in fire is natural. Setting fires is not!

Children see fire from the time they are born. It's celebrated from their very first birthday candle. So it's natural for them to be fascinated by it. Unfortunately, they have little understanding about the dangerous consequences of uncontrolled fire.

Youth Fire Setting Facts

  • 75% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 experiment with fire.
  • The median age children begin experimenting with fire is 5.
  • 53% of all arson arrests are children.
  • For every 100 people who die in fires in the United States, 24 are killed because of children playing with fire.

    Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Fire Prevention Safety Tips

  • Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight.
  • Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement for children.
  • If your child expresses curiosity about fire, calmly but firmly explain that matches and lighters are tools for adults only.
  • Use only lighters designed with child-resistant features. Remember, child-resistant does not mean child proof.
  • Teach children to tell an adult if they see matches or lighters.
  • Never leave matches or lighters in a place where children may go without supervision.
  • If you suspect your child is intentionally setting fires or playing with fire, get help. (see below)

    Source: National Fire Protection Association

For more information on the Southwest Missouri Youth Fire Intervention program or to make a referral, call Cara Erwin at 417.864.1699.

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