It’s a sad fact, hundreds of children and hundreds more adults die in home fires started by children who were playing with matches or lighters. Many of the children who started these fires were merely curious. Some of them may have set the fires deliberately as an act of vandalism or crying out for help. However, no matter the reason – the outcome can be unfortunate and tragic.
Children have a natural curiosity about fire. Adults should never use matches or lighters as a source of amusement for a child. They imitate what you do. If your children express curiosity about fire, or if you find they have been playing with matches or lighters, respond in a calm manner. Use this as an educational opportunity.
Explain firmly to your child that matches and lighters are tools for adults to use carefully. Find safe ways for your child to participate in your use of fire. Let them blow out candles, for example, or put charcoal in the grill before you light it. As children get older, they can learn how to use matches and lighters safely, but only under adult supervision.
Keep Matches and Lighters Away From Children
Children as young as two have started fires with matches and lighters. Unfortunately, in our line of work, we have seen the devastation to not just a home, but to a family, because a child was playing with a lighter. Please – If you live with children, treat matches and lighters as you would treat a dangerous weapon: store them up high, out of children’s reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
Use lighters designed with child-resident features. These lighters are difficult for most young children to operate. But don’t take chances. Store these lighters out of children’s reach as well.
Teach very young children to tell an adult if they see matches or lighters. School-age children should be taught to bring matches or lighter to an adult, removing them from the reach of younger kids.
Don’t Leave Children Unattended
Unsupervised children can sometimes get their hands on matches and lighters, even if they are well hidden. More than half of all fatal fires started by children involved bedding, mattresses, or upholstered furniture. Never leave matches or lighters in a bedroom or any place where children may go without supervision.
If You Smoke
What’s really disturbing is that careless smokers start more than 25,000 home fires every year. Those fires typically cause more than a thousand deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in property loss. When we are called in for restoration services after one of these fires, we are devastated for the family. These are fires that are 100% preventable!
Check for Hidden Embers:
Cigarettes can smolder under furniture cushions for several hours before igniting. If you or someone else smokes in the home, check in and around the furniture for hot embers, ashes, butts, or matches before you leave the room.
To reduce the risk of cigarettes starting a fire, have plenty of large, deep, non-tip ashtrays on hand, and empty them often. Fill ashtrays with water before dumping their contents into wastebaskets.
A lit cigarette left in an ashtray is a fire hazard. It can ignite butts and matchsticks and, as it burns down, it can easily roll out of the ashtray and cause a fire.
- Fires started by matches and lighters claim hundreds of lives each year. Most of those deaths could be prevented by taking a few simple precautions.
- Store matches and lighters out of children’s sight and reach.
- Teach children that matches and lighters are tools for adults, not toys.
- If you smoke, check for smoldering cigarettes or embers before leaving a room. And if you do smoke, look into smoking cessation programs. The life you save is not just yours!
Education is the key to fire prevention. But, if you or someone you know does experience a fire due to lighters or matches, contact the experts at Sage Restoration. #ServiceWithCompassion