Juvenile fire setting is never harmless and should always be taken seriously by adults.
What To Look For
If your child is playing with matches or lighters and trying to purposely burn things
Carrying fire-starting materials in pockets or if they are hidden in their room
Being very inquisitive about fire and how certain things will burn
Fire setting can happen from as young as 5 and progress into adolescence.
Children setting things on fire is not a phase they will just grow out of. If the matter is not dealt with it will only get worse.
A child setting a fire is not a pyromaniac. This is usually a result of many issues, which if dealt with early can be stopped.
Parents are the 1st resource that children will gain knowledge from. Certain things need to be instilled into children from when they are very young. Here are things to consider:
Teach your children that matches and lighters are to be used by adults only
Make your home fire safe - keep all matches, lighters and candles out of reach
Always teach and practice fire safety at home
75% of child-play incidents involve matches and lighters
Half of child fire setting cases in homes start in the bedroom
Children under 5 years old have the highest fatality in fire-play incidents
Who Can Help
Parents, you are the first line of defense for your children. If you are suspicious of your child playing with fire, seek help immediately. If you are in Illinois you can call the Youthful Fire Center Hotline at 800-446-1589 to be given a name of someone close that can help you.