Never underestimate the stupidity of children. I am a prime example. At 4 years old, I set the neighborhood woods on fire.
OK, I did have help from a few 6-year-olds who supplied the “wisdom” and matches, but still. Unsupervised, as was often the case in the ’60s, we started burning some leaves. One leaf at a time turned into small piles which quickly got a bit out of control. One of the wise old 6-year-old geniuses suggested we throw more leaves on to smother the ever-growing conflagration.
It ended how you’d imagine. Lights and sirens, a visit to my house, and enough tears to actually extinguish said fire. Fortunately, no one was hurt… if you exclude my bottom.
Kids are curious. Kids get bored. Kids don’t think about the repercussions.
According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, children set more than 20,000 fires a year in this country. That’s 384 a week! These kid-caused fires result in an average of 150 deaths and nearly 1,000 injuries every year. More than half of these fires are started by kindergarteners and preschoolers.
Think about it. We incorporate the magic of flame in many of our most wholesome celebrations. Firepits, campfires, birthday candles, fireworks. S’mores! The fascination with fires is right up there with apple pie and smartphones.
We are right smack dab in the middle of the worst fire threat, and we as the adults in the room need to be uber-vigilant. Based on my history, I made it a point to educate my kids young, by scaring the hell out of them. Father of the year I ain’t, but the point was taken.
Simple things like locking up matches and only buying child-proof lighters help. The best thing you can do is to educate and supervise your kids. Remember, it may not be your kid who brings the torch to the playgroup. Strictly enforce the “tell an adult” rule when it comes to matches, lighters and even magnifying glasses.
Have the talk. Take the steps. Before it’s too late.