The Dangers of Children Playing with Fire

Every year, hundreds of deaths and injuries occur as the result of children playing with fire. Some facts and figures:


  • In 2008, children playing with fire caused an estimated 53,500 fires reported to U.S. fire departments, resulting in 70 civilian deaths, 910 civilian injuries and $279 million in direct property damage.
  • Most fire-play fires start outside, but most associated deaths (92 percent) were in home structure fires.
  • Almost half of individuals who start reported home fires by playing were five years old or younger.
  • Two out of five child-playing home structure fires began in the bedroom.
  • Mattresses and bedding were the items first ignited in 24 percent of child-playing home structure fires and 29 percent of associated civilian fire deaths.