Playing With Fire?

Playing With Fire?

Flames Get Dangerous Fast

It will melt your marshmallows and glow brightly on your birthday cake's candles. But did you know that even a very small fire can get out of control and burn down a whole house? Or that many fires are started by kids?

Fire moves very fast. A fire can burn down a building in minutes. And one burning house can set other houses on fire. Fire isn't just dangerous inside. Outdoors, burning piles of leaves or grass can get out of control. Campfires also can lead to bigger fires if they're not put out all the way.

Little kids often play with fire because they're curious and they don't understand how much damage fire can do. If you see a younger kid playing with matches, candles, or any type of fire, get an adult right away!

Older kids also might be tempted to touch a lit candle or light something on fire, just to see what will happen. Don't do it! Kids who play with fire can end up burning themselves, hurting other people, and destroying important things, like homes and woods.

If you see a kid playing with fire — even an older one — tell an adult. And if you ever feel like you can't stop yourself from playing with fire, let a grownup know so he or she can help you.

Fire can be cozy and fun to watch, but only in a controlled situation. Think of a campfire, a fireplace on a winter night, or a professional fireworks display.

Why Fire Fascinates

Fire is a tool and a fascinating one. It's a basic element, like earth, air, and water. Fire is energy. In fact, it's a chemical reaction happening right in front of your eyes. It needs fuel and oxygen to burn, but once it starts burning, it doesn't stop until it runs out of one or both of them. That's what makes it both valuable and dangerous.

If you start by burning a stick in the woods and then you drop that stick, that flame will keep burning as long as there's fuel (more sticks, leaves, dry grass, etc.) and oxygen (there's plenty of that in the air!).

So steer clear of fires and follow these safety tips:

For many thousands of years, fire has cooked food, warmed people, and, unfortunately, destroyed stuff and hurt people. It's always been interesting to look at, too.

So the next time you gaze into a roaring fireplace, remember that many generations of people have enjoyed that very same sight. Just enjoy it safely and you won't get burned!

Reviewed by: W. Douglas Tynan, PhD
Date reviewed: January 2011





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
Web SiteUnited States Fire Administration for Kids This U.S. government site offers fire safety information, games, and the opportunity for kids to become junior fire marshals.
Related Articles
What to Do in a Fire It's scary to think about a fire happening at your house. But you can fight the fear - and prepare yourself - by learning the right way to handle a fire emergency. Find out more.
Finding Out About Fireworks Safety Fireworks are cool to watch, but it's best to let the professionals set them off. Find out more in this article for kids.
How to Use 911 You can be a big help when someone is hurt or in danger. How? By dialing 911. Find out more in this article for kids.
When It's Just You After School Are you home alone after school? If so, find out how to stay safe and keep busy until mom or dad comes home.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter