Fire Safety and Burns - Injury Statistics
Burn injury and incidence rates
The following statistics are the latest available compiled by Safe Kids Worldwide.
Injury and death rates
- Since 1999, an average of 462 children ages 14 and younger has died from residential fires each year. In 2008, 344 children ages 14 and younger died from residential fires.
- In the same year, 70 civilians were killed in fires started by children playing with fire. Approximately 65 percent of victims were children less than 5 years of age.
The leading cause of home fires and related injuries is home-cooking equipment. However, from 2005 to 2009, smoking materials (e.g. cigarettes) were the leading cause of home fire-related death and the third leading cause of fire-related injury in homes.
- In 2008, approximately 53,000 fires reported to the U.S. fire departments were started by children playing, often with matches and lighters.
- The median age of children who start fires while playing is just over 6 years old.
- In 2008, playing with lighters or matches was the cause of 64 percent of child-playing home fires. The items most commonly ignited were mattresses and bedding.
- During the cold-weather months of November through March, home fires and home fire-related deaths are more likely to occur.
- Among children ages 5 and younger, scalds or contact burns are responsible for 90 percent of burn injuries.
- When a child younger than the age of 5 dies from a residential fire, a smoke alarm is not working or not present in two-thirds of these occurrences.
- Children less than 5 years of age are at the greatest risk from home fire death and injury. Their death rate is one and a half times the national average for all children ages 14 and younger.
- Male children have a slightly higher risk for fire-related deaths than females, with almost 60 percent of deaths occurring to boys ages 14 and younger.
- Children living in rural areas have a dramatically higher risk of dying in a residential fire.
- Black children are more than three times as likely as white children to die in a fire.
- Smoke alarms are extremely effective at preventing fire-related death and injury.
- The chances of dying in a residential fire can be cut in half when a smoke alarm is present.
- Smoke alarms and sprinkler systems combined can reduce fire-related deaths by 82 percent.
Reviewed by: Gina P. Duchossois, MS
Date: April 2013