Use Every Day to Model Fire Safe Behavior to Children

Olympia – According to data from the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention, there were 1,479 child deaths due to accidental fires from 2004-2016.  Of those deaths, 175 were attributable to youth fire play.

·         90% occurred in the child’s or a relative’s home.

·         61% occurred between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

·         49% occurred when the children were unsupervised.

·         64% were children between one and four years of age.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office advises parents and caregivers it is natural for young children to be curious about fire; however, every day is an opportunity to teach children about fire safety and model fire safe behavior.

·         Be a good example!  Always use fire sources (matches, lighters, candles, fireplaces, and campfires) in a safe manner.  Never treat fire sources as toys, or children may imitate that behavior.

·         Closely supervise children and make sure they are kept away from fire sources, including lit candles, cigarettes, bonfires, and stoves.  Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children, up high, and preferably in a locked cabinet.  Teach young children to never touch matches or lighters.  They must tell a grownup when matches or lighters are found as they are for adult use only.

·         Explain to children that fire moves very fast and can hurt as soon as it touches them.

·         Talk with children about what their friends or other children are doing with fire.  What are they seeing online in video games, on TV, in movies, and on social media?  Teach them to resist the peer pressure to misuse fire.

·         Establish clear rules and consequences about unsupervised and unauthorized uses of fire.

·         Give praise for showing respect and age-appropriate responsible behavior toward fire.

For more information, contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at (360) 596-3929.