A Match is a tool

A message to the parent / guardian / caregiver:

Children MUST be taught the proper function and SAFE use of matches and fire.

A TOOL has a specific purpose and should be used only for that purpose. The match should be presented as a TOOL having a specific purpose, such as lighting candles, starting a campfire or lighting a fire in a fireplace.

Many fireplay (matchplay) problems are solved by having the child promise to use fire and matches ONLY IN THE PRESENCE OF THE PARENT OR RESPONSIBLE ADULT, and by the adult agreeing to allow the child to use matches when it is appropriate.

Fire serves a very important and necessary role in our lives. The earlier a person learns the proper and safe use of fire, the less likely there will be a desire to "play" with matches and fire.

Most children, at one time or another, express an interest in fire. Some children simply watch, but others may try to experiment. This interest is normal and healthy. However, this activity and interest must be carefully guided in order to prevent a tragedy.

The statement, "Don't play with matches," gives the child no positive information and does not explain the safe use of matches. A child's curiosity is generally what causes him/her to play with matches. Parents demonstrating the proper and safe use of matches should guide this curiosity.

In general, the average age to begin the "Match is a Tool" education is about five years old. However, parents/guardians/caregivers will need to determine when the individual child is ready. For young children, KEEP MATCHES OUT OF THEIR REACH. This includes cigarette lighters and related items. The wooden (strike anywhere) kitchen match should not be used or kept in homes where young children are present.

You, as a parent/guardian/caregiver, must set a good example in your use of fire. It you follow safe practices, your children will do the same. . . . . . .

This information is supplied by the Shriners Burn institute.