Overview: One of the primary causes of residential fire deaths and injuries for children under 10 is playing with a heat source, which includes lighters and matches.
Between 2012 and 2016, 405 fires in which playing with a heat source was a contributing factor were reported by Tennessee fire departments. Fires resulting from playing with a heat source caused 4 civilian deaths, 14 civilian injuries, and $5,436,321 million in property damage in that time.
• 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 and are prohibited in Tennessee. Do not buy or use them.
• Teach young children to never 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. Daylight saving time changes, in the fall and spring, are great times to replace smoke alarm batteries if they are not 10-year batteries.
• Replace any smoke alarm that is at least 10 years old.
Matches and Lighters
14.1.1 Keep matches, lighters, and novelty lighters high out of the reach of children, in a locked cabinet.
14.1.2 Purchase and use only child resistant lighters.
14.1.4 Teach young children to tell a grownup when they find matches or lighters and to never touch matches or lighters. In 2008, Tennessee banned the sale of novelty lighters in the state. These lighters usually resemble cartoon characters, toys, guns, watches, musical instruments, and animals, and often include entertaining audio and visual effects. They pose a serious fire hazard, especially in the hands of children who mistake them for toys. Toy-like or novelty lighters have been responsible for injuries, deaths, and accidents across the nation.