Myths & Facts

Myth: It's normal for children to "play" with fire.
Fact: It is not normal for kids to play with fire. Curiosity about fire is common; however, use of fire without an parent/adult's knowledge, approval, and supervision is dangerous and may lead to property loss, injury, and death.

Myth: A child can control a small fire.
Fact: Every fire starts small. Any fire can get out of control, even one that is controlled and supervised. Remember, a fire doubles in size every 30 seconds.

Myth: Fire-setting is a phase that children will outgrow.
Fact: Fire-setting is not a phase, just as stealing is not a phase of child development. If a child is not taught fire safety, fire-setting can easily get out of control with potentially disastrous consequences.

Myth: Some children are obsessed with fire.
Fact: Very few kids are obsessed with fire. There is always a reason behind the fire-setting behavior. To stop fire-setting behavior, the reason needs identification and the issue(s) addressed through education and professional counseling.

Myth: If I burn my child's hand, he/she will learn that fire is hot and burns. Then he/she will stop fire experimentation or fire-setting.
Fact: Purposely burning your kid's hand is child abuse—and it is against the law. It also does not work since kids do not believe they or anyone else will be injured by a fire they set. Talk to your kids.

Myth: If I make my child light hundreds of matches, it will deter his/her fire-setting behavior.
Fact: It will most likely be unsuccessful. Lighting matches may reinforce fire-setting behavior rather than serve as a deterrent. Repetition equates to rehearsal.