Playing with fire.

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About this work


This is a public information film about fire safety, presumably aimed at parents. The film explains that a lot of 'monkey mischief' is natural curious behaviour and is important developmentally. A number of young children are seen playing freely inside and outside. Unfortunately, curiosity can lead to accidents and a number of case studies are illustrative of this: 'Pat Kearney', a toddler, is accidentally scalded by her mother when she spills a hot cup of tea over her. 'Mary Johnson' was playing with her father before bath-time. Her mother had prepared a bath tub with hot water; Mary tumbles into the bath of scalding water. 'Mrs Campbell' left some soup on the gas ring; her son falls on the hot gas and burns his arm. 'Mrs Carr' is serving soup and a boy she is looking after pulls the served soup off the table. 'Helen' and 'Bill Patterson' were listening to the radio unsupervised; Helen reaches up for her storybook on the mantel piece. When she leans up to get it, her nightie catches fire. Each emergency is followed by a sequence of clips showing an ambulance and a childrens' ward in hospital with a crying child off-camera. All these accidents could be prevented by either using a playpen/putting the child in another room or using a number of different fireguards. These need to be fixed to the wall. Hot liquids have to be put out of reach - these are carefully repositioned in the safest position. Small table cloths and oil cloths are suggested to deter the curious toddler intent on pulling a tablecloth over. The narrator says that a bath should have cold water in first. A girl demonstrates first aid on her doll; the doll is on fire and she smothers it with a blanket. The parents are exhorted to take responsibility for their children's safety and help to reduce the numbers of children who die in household accidents (the opening sound track is funereal organ music).


England, 1947.

Physical description

1 videocassette (DIGIBETA) (11 min.) : sound, black and white
1 DVD (11 min.) : sound, black and white

Copyright note

Crown Copyright

Creator/production credits

A Central Office of Information Film for the Ministry of Health. Directed by Michael Law, Camera Jo Jago. Produced by Public Relationship Films in co-operation with Birmingham Accident Hospital.



Where to find it

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