Prevalence Of Fires Caused By Children In The USA

Children are naturally curious about fire. Fire is mysterious and children find it very amusing to burn a piece of wood or paper in a campfire. Or, they may see their parents light the grill. The flames shoot high. And, it is natural for children to want to imitate their parents. Also, fire can be comforting since we use it to heat our food, keep warm, have fun around a campfire and for various other uses. Thus, this can lead to children experimenting with fire. They may see a lighter or a box of matches and may want to light something. Before they know it, the fire can spread quickly and become out of control. Therefore, it is important for parents to teach their children about the dangers of playing with lighters and matches.

Research over time shows that most children have played with fire by the time they exit elementary school. This does not mean that all children who play with fire will become arsonists. It is normal for children to be mesmerized by fire. But, it is important for children to learn the dangers of playing with fire so that their fascination will not turn into something far more serious.

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According to the University of Michigan Health System, children make up 20% of all fire-related deaths. Over 30% of fires that kill children are caused by a child playing with fire. Fires and burns are the leading cause of deaths in children between the ages 1 to 4 and the second leading cause of death in children ages 5 to 9. Each year children set more than 100,000 fires, with more than 20,000 of those being set in homes. Most child fire-play incidents involve lighters and matches, so adults must keep these items out of reach and out of sight. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 5,000 residential fires per year are caused by children under the age of 5 who were playing with lighters. This results in an annual estimated 150 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries from children playing with lighters.

Children like to play with lighters. Often, lighters appear to be very toy-like. They are colorful and children often have easy access to them. And, before lighters were made to be child-resistant, they were easy to use. Even small children who had access to lighters were able to light them with ease. However, it is noteworthy that the number of fires caused by children playing with lighters has significantly decreased since the development of child-resistant lighters.

Adults should never use lighters as a source of amusement for children. Doing so will encourage children to play with them since children will often imitate adults. Lighters and matches should also be kept locked away in a secure location away from children. If you notice your child taking an interest in fire, explain to them that fire is dangerous. They must learn to have a proper respect for fire. Adults can also be good role models for children when a fire is present. They can teach children what is and isn't okay regarding fire. Fire can be useful and enjoyable, but it is important for adults to show a proper respect for fire so that children will, likewise, cultivate that same respect.

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