Matches and Lighter Safety

Matches, lighters, and other heat sources are the leading causes of fire deaths for children. Never underestimate your child's curiosity about fire, nor their ability to strike matches or start a lighter.


Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet. Remember: even child-resistant lighters are not childproof and should be stored securely as well.


When a child is curious about fire or has been playing with fire, calmly and firmly explain that matches and lighters are tools for only adults to use carefully.


In addition, instruct toddlers to tell you, a teacher or another adult that they know when they find a match or lighter.

Never use matches or lighters as amusement for your children. They may imitate your actions.


    Take extreme care with the storage of your matches and lighters. Your children are depending on you.


    Facts & figures

    In 2006, children playing with fire started an estimated 14,500 structure fires that were reported to U.S. fire departments, causing an estimated 130 civilian deaths, 810 civilian injuries and $328 million in direct property damage.

    Nearly two-thirds (63%) of all fatal victims of fires by playing are children 5 years old and younger.

    Nearly two out of every three child-playing fires -- and four out of five associated deaths and injuries -- involve matches or lighters.

    The items ignited by home fire-play are principally mattresses, bedding or clothing.

    Source: NFPA's "Children Playing with Fire " report by Jennifer D. Flynn, January 2009