How to keep safe with candles around kids and pets

Burning candles is a common way to set the mood in a home. However, though beautiful, the risk of burns and house fires can generate fear and anxiety around them. This is especially true if you live with children and pets. However, there are safety tips you can keep in mind to protect yourself and your loved ones while still savoring the candle experience.

Candle safety tips

1.  Never leave a burning candle unattended

Even if you’re simply pouring yourself a glass of water, you should never leave a candle unattended. This is especially true if you have children and pets around. Candles can easily be knocked over and cause burns, house fires, injury, or death. It only takes a few seconds for curious fingers (or paws!) to make their way over to a candle flame, and you risk your child being seriously burned.

2. Always extinguish candles before going to sleep.

Leaving a candle lit while you take a nap is extremely dangerous for you and your loved ones. Not only could a candle cause a fire on its own, but children and pets could knock it over, burn themselves or cause a house fire.

3. Place lit candles in draft free areas, away from open windows, curtains and blinds. 

In addition to impacting the quality of a candle’s burn, drafts are also a safety hazard. Strong gusts of air can blow a flame sideways, where it may come into contact with flammable objects, such as curtains. 

4.     Place lit candles where children can’t reach them.

Make sure your candles are high enough that children can’t reach them. It is also important to check that there is no way a pet can climb up to the candle if they become curious.

Never place a candle up so high that it is impossible for you to reach quickly, as this is a safety hazard. You need to be able to extinguish the flame promptly, in case of an emergency. If the candle is up too high, you may drop it when trying to extinguish it, which can cause a fire or burn someone.

5.     Store matches out of reach of children. 

Matches and lighters should always be kept away from children. Preferably, they should be stored in a high place, like a locked cupboard. They should never be stored in rooms that children may have access to without adult supervision, such as a bathroom or bedroom.

6.     Never let a child light a candle, even if an adult is present. 

Not only will children have more difficulty lighting a candle, but if you let them light one when you’re around, they might think this means they are capable of lighting one on their own. 

7.     Use ‘child resistant’ lighters

In many countries, including Australia, lighters are required to have a mechanism that prevents children from opening them accidentally. This may include a release catch or an activation button. Remember, this doesn’t mean your lighter is ‘child-proof’, only that it is difficult for a child to use. You should still store all lighters in a safe place.

8.     Install smoke detectors

Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your house, in bedrooms, hallways and rooms where a fire is likely to occur. Test your fire alarms often and replace batteries regularly. Make sure your children know what they sound like and what to do if they hear them.

9.  Have a family fire plan

Make sure your children know what to do if a fire breaks out and practice your evacuation plan regularly. Teach children how to use fire extinguishers, how to call for help, and how to ‘stop, drop and roll’ if their clothing catches on fire. 

Scented candles and pets

It is important to remember that some scents may actually be harmful to your furry friends. Some scented candles can irritate a pet’s airways, causing asthma attacks and worsening lung conditions like bronchitis. 

Before purchasing a scented candle, be sure to read the box and check online to determine whether it is safe for your pet. If you are burning a candle that contains a substance that is potentially harmful to your pet, it is important to take necessary precautions to keep your furry friend out of harm’s way. 

How can I keep my pet safe from scented products?

Burn scented candles in moderation to protect your pet’s lungs. Make sure they are burnt away from your pet and up high and out of reach. If your pet has a history of lung issues, scented candles may not be right for your home.