Fire Safety for Children
By Vice President / Lieutenant Scot Best
July 1, 2024

One of the primary causes of residential fire deaths and injuries for children under the age of 10 is playing with a heat source, which includes lighters and matches. When it comes to children, safety should be a priority and when it comes to fire safety, it is no exception.

Kids and Fire Safety- Facts and Stats:
• Every day, at least one child dies from a home fire and another 293 children are injured from fires or burns.
• 90% of all fire-related deaths are due to home fires.
• Home fires can spread rapidly and leave families as little as two minutes to escape after an alarm sounds.
• Children under 5 years of age are at the greatest risk from home fire death and injury; their death rate is nearly twice the national average.
• Each year, nearly 488 children ages 14 and under die in home fires, and another 116,600 children are injured from a fire/burn related incident.

Some children are curious about fire. There are simple steps you can take to keep you and the people you love safer from fires and burns.

• Keep children 3 feet away from anything that can get hot. Space heaters and stovetops can cause terrible burns. Keep children away from anything that can lead to injury.
• Keep smoking materials locked in a place that is out of reach. Never leave cigarette lighters or matches where children can reach them.
• Never play with lighters or matches around children. Kids may try and imitate the dangerous behavior.

Ridge VFD encourages our residents to follow these child-related fire safety tips in their homes:
• Supervise young children closely. Do not leave them alone, even for short periods of time.
• Keep matches and lighters in a locked drawer or cabinet, high out of the reach of children.
• Purchase and use only child-resistant lighters. Lighters that look like toys can confuse children and cause fires, injuries, and death. Do not buy or use them.
• Teach young children never to touch matches and lighters and to tell a grownup if they find them.
• Take the mystery out of fire by teaching children that fire is a tool for adults, not a toy for children.
• Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement for children; they may try to do the same.
• Check under beds and in closets for burned matches, evidence your child might be playing with fire.
• Develop a home fire escape plan, practice it with your children, and designate a safe meeting place outside your residence.
• Teach children not to hide from firefighters but to get out quickly and call for help from another location.
• Show children how to crawl on the floor below smoke, to get out of the home, and stay out.
• Demonstrate how to stop, drop to the ground, and roll if their clothes catch fire.
• Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. Familiarize children with the sound of smoke alarms. Test smoke alarms each month and replace their batteries according to manufacturer’s instructions.