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Curious Children & Fire

The National Fire Prevention Clearinghouse has developed a 3-step approach to answer a child's questions regarding fire. If you have further questions you may contact our office or the National Fire Prevention Clearinghouse at (800) 603-3100.

Step One: Teach Your Child About Fire

  • "What Is Fire?" Fire is a natural energy source which provides heat, light and energy. Fire is a tool that we use in our everyday lives to produce heat, cook food and heat our homes.
  • Fire is a useful tool, for use by adults. Fire can be dangerous, it is not a toy or a plaything.
  • Fire can easily get out of control.
  • Only adults can safely use fire and must follow special fire safety rules.

Step Two: Control Your Child's Access to Fire

  • Create a safe home environment.
  • Keep all matches and lighters out of the reach of young children. A two-year-old child can operate a lighter or strike a match.
  • Never - not even for a moment - leave a stove, lighted candle or fire in a fireplace unattended.
  • Teach your children that matches or lighters are too dangerous to even touch. Teach your children not to touch lighters or matches they may find, but to tell you where they are.
  • Remember to praise your children for following your instructions.

Step Three: Set A Good Example

  • Children learn by watching and imitating adults. Set a good example for them.
  • Point out the safety precautions you use for cooking, heating, fire safety.
  • Post emergency numbers by the telephone and teach children how and when to use them. Emphasize the importance of getting out, then call for help from another location. Items such as toys and pets can always be replaced, but a child cannot.