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should matches and lighters be kept out of reach of 8 and 5 year old?

(39 Posts)
chocoholic05 Sat 26-Oct-13 21:31:48

He's actually six next month but that's beside the point.
We were round inlaws this evening and ds1 saw a lighter and said look look a lighter and said his brother had picked it up he said it needs to go out of our reach. Mil said no its staying there your both old enough now to be told not to touch it. Dh picked it up to put away and mil very firmly put them back on the table. I pointed out that actually by seeing a lighter and telling a grown-up he was actually doing the right thing. But she kept saying no theyre old enough now to know not to touch it. And there it stayed til fil went outside to smoke. He must have put it in his pocket after that.
I also pointed that when we stay in their caravan the first thing we do is take the matches and put them on top of the cupboard. She said that's rediculous and we should leave them in the drawer because they are old enough to be told not to touch them.

valiumredhead Sun 27-Oct-13 00:27:44

I agree with liara.

Donkeyok Sun 27-Oct-13 00:27:15

If there on the table they are a constant attraction for little ones 'forbidden fruit'. It shouldn't be a test that they would ignore it, why stick temptation there? I would be very unhappy if it were my dc 11 and 8. We have coal fires and have instructed they dc in lighting them with supervision, however we keep matches safety put away.
Also what about the fact they are associating them with dg smoking!

Mattissy Sat 26-Oct-13 23:31:01

I'm a bit of a pyromaniac, I can stare at fire for ages, love it, lol

So, although I recognise what she means, a 6 and an 8 year old should know better, I also know that even at 46 I'm best having lighters hidden from me. Well, not really but you know what I mean.

So I'd hide them, not because they didn't know the possible consequences but to remove temptation. You know what children are like "it'll never happen to me"

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Sat 26-Oct-13 23:18:09

There was a public information film I remember - a man was having a nightmare and the fire was personified as this breathy, high pitched, laughing voice. Scared the crap out of me. Show them that grin

TigOldBitties Sat 26-Oct-13 23:05:24

Yabu. I agree with your mil, particularly in that situation.

It might have been different had it happened at your house. Children are more likely to be on their own, exploring or bored in your own house and yes generally I do leave things out of sight when I think about it. However my DC have been told at great lengths that they touch such things on pain of death so yes when I occasionally use a lighter I might leave it on the side and would not think this an issue.

Also your mil is from a different generation, we never had an open fire as such but the way my mother taught us all about fire was explained how dangerous it was and held our hand on a flame. Not enough to cause a burn but just a moment of pain. We were all totally fire safety conscious as a result.

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Sat 26-Oct-13 22:51:03

Well, as DS1 said he'd seen his brother touching it and it should be put up out of reach I'd have reinforced that by saying yes, he was right - thank you/well done.

However, at other peoples houses I wouldn't expect them to put things out of reach - it's their house and you are all there supervising them surely?

Beyond that, it really, really does depend on the children. All but one of the kids I know would be fine, but the other one is a right little sod and he can't be left alone in an empty room without causing trouble - I think his parents will still be hiding matches when he's 20!!

We have matches in the kitchen drawer, most of my friends do - so definitely 'not out of reach' and the kids know where they are, but also not just lying around on the coffee table etc where the risk of temptation might be high. However, when we go camping etc the matches are always around and the kids don't bother with them.

So, I think you are being a bit OTT, but they're your kids, you're allowed to be smile

MrsPnut Sat 26-Oct-13 22:49:29

We have a multifuel stove and the matches live on the mantlepiece above it. Our now 7 year old have never touched the matches and we moved here when she was 3. She knows that matches make fire and that fire is something that only grow ups can organise.
Her older sister has started smoking and so we often find liters Ll over the house and again she would never dream of using one. I've either got the world's most biddable child or having a real fire lit most weekends since she was small has given her a healthy respect for fire.

CointreauVersial Sat 26-Oct-13 22:46:06

I agree with your MIL.

But then my DCs were always quite sensible, and at that age would have taken on board the fact that the lighter was not to be touched.

Sarahplane Sat 26-Oct-13 22:40:55

I think it depends on the child. My eight year old dd would be absolutely fine and know not to touch and why and I think would have been fine at five or six. She's always been very sensible though and if you tell her why she's not to do something then she won't.

I can see already that my ds (who's now 2) doesn't have the same sense and I suspect will probably be a lot older before he could be trusted.

pianodoodle Sat 26-Oct-13 22:32:09

She sounds ridiculous. Yes it's good that they know not to touch as well, but that's no reason to keep them lying around when it's just as easy to keep them away in a cupboard.

Morloth Sat 26-Oct-13 22:30:35

No they are not able to understand the full consequences.

But they are old enough to respect their parents and also fear the punishment that would descend on them if caught.

jollygoose Sat 26-Oct-13 22:15:42

I once allowed my 12yr old to go home an hour before the rest of the family - should have known better he wasnt the most trustworthy child, anyway in that hour he managed to set fire to a wall unit and badly damage it - personally I think the temptation is best avoided!

2rebecca Sat 26-Oct-13 22:06:59

I keep lighters and matches out of reach, but wouldn't tell someone else how to organise their house. If you are in someone else's house you supervise your kids. I wouldn't let them stay unsupervised in a house I considered unsafe though.
I'd probably ask to move stuff like sharp knives or valuable looking ornaments, more because kids are clumsy (or mine were) than untrustworthy.
5 & 8 are old enough to be told "leave the matches alone" as you can't accidentally harm yourself with matches, they'd have to actually pick them up and play with them.
I would agree with MIL that in a drawer should be a safe place where a 5 & 8 year old are concerned as that's deliberate naughtiness and if they'll go into a low drawer when they know they shouldn't they could just as easily climb on a chair to reach a high shelf.

Permanentlyexhausted Sat 26-Oct-13 22:02:23

ancientbuchanan that's an interesting point. We've always had an open fire so maybe my children just don't have same fascination with flames as others do. I don't think it would have ever occurred to my children to touch the matches, although they were usually within reach.

pixiepotter Sat 26-Oct-13 22:02:17

Depends on the child.Depends on their personality and how they have been brought up.Not so long ago children younger than that were lighting their way to bed with a candle.My kids had all laid and lit the fire so matches held no mystique for them.I can remember DS1 using an electric soldering iron at 2 under DHs supervision!

MuffCakes Sat 26-Oct-13 21:59:58

I'm on your MIL side, your dc are not toddlers they already know not to touch, if you cannot trust your dc then how can you trust your parenting skills?

MaitlandGirl Sat 26-Oct-13 21:57:40

I live in NSW, Australia and we've been really badly affected by bush fires - despite all the news coverage, local evacuations, fire engine racing up the streets, helicopters overhead and smoke wherever you look - 2 x 8 year old boys took a cigarette lighter, piled up some dry grass and tried to light it on fire "to see how long it took the firies to get here".

These were just normal curious kids - but it could have been another massive brushfire. Thankfully they couldn't get the lighter to work.

Kids that age aren't old enough to understand the full potential extent of their actions.

Permanentlyexhausted Sat 26-Oct-13 21:57:05

YABU - at that age they should know not to touch them if they see them lying around. In fact, I would expect an 8 year old to not only know not to touch them without an adult being present but also to be able to use them sensibly with adult supervision.

Floralnomad Sat 26-Oct-13 21:54:26

I agree with your MIL .

ancientbuchanan Sat 26-Oct-13 21:54:24

I think that in the old days, when everyone had open fires, one of the key tests was " are they safe with matches" and 5 - 6 was about that age.

The problem is now that so few children have that experience that lighters and matches are fascinating for much longer.

So she may have been right looking back to her, and possibly my, youth, but you are right now. And if there is ever any question then of course you should err on the safe side.

But, dependent on how old she is, there could be a reason.

Retroformica Sat 26-Oct-13 21:53:32

I think it depends on the type of child you have - one that will follow directions when given with explanation, or one that will just do silly things for the sake of seeing what happens.

ouryve Sat 26-Oct-13 21:52:41


Retroformica Sat 26-Oct-13 21:51:40

I would expect the kids not to touch - however I still keep medicines and fire stuff out of reach as a secondary precaution.

BackforGood Sat 26-Oct-13 21:51:16

I'm with Liara and you MiL too.
Yes, in your own hose / when they are somewhere they are likely to be left to their own devices for some hours, as a general rule it's better to have them out of any temptations way, but you were with their grandparents, in their own house, and you were there too - do you really think there would be the opportunity to set fire to something ??? Of course the dc should be able to understand there are things they just don't play with.

kangarooshoes Sat 26-Oct-13 21:50:29

YABU. Normal six and eight is old enough to know they NEVER touch matches or lighters. Nowhere is out of reach at that age, as someone said.

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