Candles can be a serious fire hazard if not used properly. Some candles also have design flaws that increase the risk of fire. There are a number of things you can do to reduce health and safety risks when burning candles, here are some helpful ideas.
Minimizing Your Risk
Human error is responsible for starting many candle fires. The following steps will help minimize your risk when you burn candles in your home.
- Follow the instructions printed on the label.
- Trim candle wicks to a height of 5-7 mm (1/4 inch) before lighting the candle. Trim them again every 2-3 hours to prevent high flames.
- Take extra care if you are burning candles with more than one wick.
- Use well ventilated candleholders that are sturdy and will not tip over. Avoid wooden or plastic holders, as these can catch fire. Use caution with glass candleholders, which can break when they get too hot.
- Never drop objects, like matches, into candles.
- Keep burning candles away from materials that can catch fire. If your clothes catch fire, "Stop, Drop and Roll."
- Do not leave candles burning with no one in the room and be sure to extinguish all candles before you go to sleep.
- Do not burn candles that have lead in the wicks.
- Avoid using decorative oil lamps with liquid fuel if you have children under the age of five in your household.
- Keep burning candles out of reach of children and pets. Teach your children to be careful around open flames. Make sure they understand that candles are not toys, or something they can eat or drink.