Common Questions

Is playing with fire normal for children?

It is common for children to be curious about fire; although, playing with fire should not be tolerated. Children see their parents or others smoke and handle matches and lighters. Parents try to teach their children that playing with matches and lighters are wrong, but then use them to light candles on the child's birthday cake or light fireworks on the 4th of July. These stimulating and satisfying experiences reinforce the use of fire. It is important that parents teach children that matches and lighters are tools, not toys.

Is firesetting a phase?

No, fire setting is not a normal phase for a child. If the fire setting behavior is not dealt with immediately, the behavior will escalate into criminal behavior.

If the parents or guardians of the child seek help for the child, will their neighbors and friends find out?

All intervention and counseling is kept confidential. Parents of juvenile fire setters often hesitate to seek help for their child. The ramifications of a child accused of setting fires can be devastating. Parents fear alienation from their family, friends, and the community. In addition, repeated fire setting is a cry for help and parents may fear they would be forced to reveal underlying family problems.

If the child is punished, will he stop the firesetting behavior?

Punishment may force the child to hide while playing with fire. It is important to educate the child on the hazards of fire setting rather than punish them.

Do You Know A Child Who Is Curious About Fire?

·         300 children each year die in youth related fires.

·         Two of every fire deaths of preschool-aged children in home fires occurs between 8 am - 4 pm

·         Death by fire is the leading cause of accidental death of children in the home.

·         A child can easily start a fire by playing with matches or lighters.