Matches & Lighters Position Paper

Issue: What should children be taught to do when they find matches and/or lighters?

Apr 1999

Position:

If a child under the age of seven years (Grade one) finds matches or lighters, the child should be taught to tell a grown-up. They should not touch matches or lighters. A child age seven years or older (Grade 2) can be taught to give matches or lighters to a grown-up they know.

Reason:

Children playing with matches or lighters is a leading cause of fire deaths for children five years and younger. The message is intended to ensure that children under the age of seven years (Grade one) have no access to play with matches or lighters.

Older children are able to take on the responsibility of giving matches or lighters to a grown-up they know. Matches and lighters are tools for adults not toys for children. With adult supervision, older children may be taught how to use matches and lighters safely and appropriately.

Caregivers play a key role in supporting this fire safety behaviour. Adults should positively reinforce children who tell or give (depending on their age) matches and lighters to them, and must respond by safely storing the matches or lighters out of sight and out of reach of children. Adults and other caregivers should keep matches and lighters out of sight and out of reach of children at all times.