In 2010, U.S. fire department responded to an estimated 44,900 fires that were started by someone, usually a child, playing with fire. These fires caused 90 civilian deaths, 890 civilian injuries and $210 million in direct property damage.
Source: NFPA's latest estimates of children playing with fire -2010 (PDF, 131 KB)
Facts & figures
- Preschoolers and kindergartners are most likely to start these fires, typically by playing with matches and lighters, and are most likely to die in them.
- In 2005-2009, children playing with fire started an estimated 56,300 fires that were reported to U.S. fire departments, causing an estimated 110 civilian deaths, 880 civilian injuries and $268 million in direct property damage.
- Most fire-play fires (77%) started outside, but most associated deaths (97%) were in home structure fires.
- Almost half (46%) of people who start reported home fires by playing were five years old or younger.
- Two out of five (40%) child-playing home structure fires began in the bedroom.
- Mattresses and bedding were the items first ignited in 24% of child-playing home structure fires and 29% of associated civilian fire deaths.
Video: Children playing with fire cause hundreds of deaths and injuries each year. NFPA's Lisa Braxton talks about how clear rules and consequences must be established for children about fire misuse.
Source: NFPA's "Children Playing with Fire" report by Ben Evarts, November 2011.
Also see: Fact sheet on children and fire. (PDF, 32 KB)