Moves to ban the dangerous novelty lighters have been welcomed by child safety campaigners.
Kids playing with cigarette lighters caused 286 fires in the UK in 2004 and led to eight deaths.
Most disposable lighters are not child-resistant and fire experts warn novelty lighters in the shape of teddy bears, animals or cartoon characters are especially dangerous as they appeal to young children.
The government has announced it will ban the import of novelty lighters from next March and will push through a full ban on sales in March 2008.
Consumer minister Ian McCartney said: ‘When you see the hard facts it clear that young children will benefit from the change in the law. Not only are novelty lighters very appealing to kids but they are rarely child-resistant.
‘With a fifth of house fires being started by children playing with lighters, these measures will make a real difference to the safety of young children.’
Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, said: ‘This is great news for families with young children. Serious accidents happen when children play with fire – and novelty lighters are doubly dangerous because they appeal to young children but aren’t child-resistant. Our advice to parents is to keep all lighters out of sight and reach of young children.’