Child Fire Safety Tips

The following child fire safety tips are provided to help you protect your children. Remember, no tip is effective without proper adult supervision.


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Cigarette Lighters and Matches
Each year more than 200 deaths are associated with fires started by cigarette lighters. About two thirds of these result from children playing with lighters so child fire safety is a "must" in your household because:

Most of the victims are under five years old.

Keep these points in mind:

1.Keep cigarette lighters and matches out of the reach of your children.
2. NEVER use cigarette lighters to entertain your children.

Recommendations for child fire safety:
Keep lighters and matches out of sight and out of the reach of your children.

Children as young as two years old are capable of lighting cigarette lighters and matches. Never encourage or allow a child to play with a lighter or to think of it as a toy.

Do not use it as a source of amusement for your child. Once their curiosity is aroused, children may seek out a lighter on their own and try to light it.

Always check to see that cigarettes are extinguished before emptying ashtrays. Stubs that are still burning can ignite trash.

Prevent Burn Injuries From Children’s Pajamas
To ensure your child's fire safety, find out what the federal safety standards are for children’s pajamas and loose-fitting sleepwear, before you make your next purchase.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sets national safety standards for child pajamas flammability. These standards are designed for child fire safety and to protect children from burn injuries if they come in contact with an open flame, such as a match or stove burner. See below for links to provide you with this information.

Under amended federal safety rules, garments sold as children's sleepwear for sizes larger than nine months must be:

1. Flame Resistant -- Flame resistant garments do not continue burning when removed from an ignition source. Examples include inherently flame resistant polyesters that do not require chemical treatment.

2. Snug-fitting -- Snug-fitting garments need not be flame resistant because they are made to fit closely against a child’s body. Snug-fitting child sleepwear is made of stretchy cotton or cotton blends that fit closely against a child's body. It does not ignite easily and, even if ignited, does not burn readily because there is little oxygen to feed a fire.

**The rules for flame resistance or snug fit do not apply to sleepwear for sizes nine months and under because infants that wear these sizes are insufficiently mobile to expose themselves to an open flame.

Child fire safety recommendations indicate that children should never be put to sleep in T-shirts, sweats, or other oversized, loose-fitting cotton or cotton-blend garments. These garments can catch fire easily and are associated with 200 to 300 emergency room-treated burn injuries to children annually.

Children are most at risk from burn injuries that result from playing with fire (matches, lighters, candles, burners on stoves) just before bedtime and just after rising in the morning.

For child fire safety, most manufacturers are using hangtags on their snug-fitting sleepwear to let consumers know that the product meets federal safety standards. These hangtags (as shown) remind consumers that a snug fit or flame resistance is necessary for safety.

Child Fire Safety -- Candle Safety
Practice child fire safety for children and reduce the chance of a fire starting from a child playing with candles by following these guidelines.

While deaths from residential fires have been nearly cut in half from 4,500 in 1980 to 2,660 in 1998, those caused by candles have increased by 750 percent.

In most cases, candles caused house fires when they were left unattended, tipped over and ignited nearby combustibles. Almost half of home candle fires start in the bedroom. Mattresses or bedding are the most common items that ignite, followed by furniture (dressers, desks, and tables) and then curtains. To ensure child fire safety, ensure that your child do not have candles in their bedrooms.

Tealights and tapers are common culprits in candle fires.
A child playing with the candle itself or near the candle is one of the biggest contributors to candle fires. Faced with fire, many children hide in a closet or under a bed leading to tragic fatalities. In fact, children under age 5 have a fire death rate more than twice the national average.

Ensure that you instruct your child on child fire safety so that they understand the dangers of fire.

"Candles are no longer used for the occasional dinner party. In fact, only a small percent of candle fires start in dining rooms," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Candle sales are booming and families are lighting candles in their living rooms, family rooms, dens and bathrooms. Reduce the chance of a fire, by following these simple safety tips:"

1. Keep matches, lighters and candles away from children.
2. Never leave burning candles unattended.
3. Keep combustible materials away from candles.
4. Don't put candles in a location where children or pets could knock them down.
5. Use only non-flammable candle holders.
6. Always trim the wicks before lighting.

House fires have dropped from 655,000 in 1980 to 332,300 in 1998, the latest year for which data is available. In contrast, house fires caused by candles have increased, from 8,500 in 1980 to 12,900 in 1998.

Fires from candles have increased dramatically, but they are preventable. Fire safety for children can be taught at an early age to prevent child injuries, fire deaths and firesetting accidents.

For more information on child fire safety, visit the following web sites:

Child Fire Safety -- U.S. Fire Association

Child Fire Safety -- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission


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