Children playing with fire a growing concern Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 April 2017
Special to GUIDON

One of the leading causes of structure fires across the nation, are fires set by children.

Throughout the nation, young children are responsible for about 95,000 damaging fires a year, resulting in more than 300 deaths, 3,000 injuries and $300 million in property damage.

For the first few years of children's lives, we teach them that fire is hot and tell them to stay away from lighters, the fireplace and candles. Then, on their birthday, we light a fire, stick it right in front of them, sing them a happy song, and tell them to lean into the fire and blow out the fire. It's a tradition that must confuse even the most intelligent young mind.

We probably can’t blame curiosity entirely on the birthday cake. But, this scenario serves as a reminder that children are naturally curious and, as parents, we have a responsibility to begin educating our children on the dangers of fire at a young age.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 54 percent of those killed in fires set by children are under the age of 5.

The United States Fire Administration attributes many of these fires to the child’s lack of understanding of the destructive potential of fire, ready access to matches, lighters or open flame and a lack of supervision.

Parents must begin educating their children about fire early and continue this education throughout early childhood.

Parents should ensure lighters, matches and candles are never accessible to children. Even a lighter secured in a purse or dresser drawer can be easily accessible to a curious toddler.

Finally, parents should routinely practice home escape drills with their children. This not only exponentially increases survivability in the event of a fire, but sends a strong message to children that fire can be very dangerous and destructive.

Whether you want assistance in educating your children about the dangers of fire or need help setting up your own fire prevention program in your home or office on post, the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department is ready to help.

Fore more information, call the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department at 573.596.0131, ext. 60886 and ask for a fire inspector.

(Editor's note: Information provided by the Fire Prevention Section of the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department.)