Candle Safety

"While candles create a beautiful atmosphere and are especially popular around the holidays, it's important to remember that safe use of candles is the only way to use them in any room. Experts agree it is too risky to leave a lit candle burning in a room where no one is present, or where you'll fall asleep," says Meri-K Appy, NFPA vice president for public education.

NFPA suggests the following safety tips when using candles:

  • Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or when going to sleep.

  • Keep candles away from items that can catch fire such as clothing, books, paper, curtains, Christmas trees, flammable decorations or anything else that burns.

  • Make sure candles are placed on a stable piece of furniture in sturdy holders that won't tip over. Candles should fit in the holders securely and holders should be made from material that can't burn.

  • Use flashlights for temporary lighting in power outages, not candles. Keep plenty of fresh batteries on hand during thunderstorm seasons.

  • Make sure the candleholder is big enough to collect dripping wax.

  • Don't allow children or teens to have candles in their bedrooms.

  • Don't place lit candles in windows, where blinds or curtains can close over them.

  • Do not use candles in places where they could be knocked over by children or pets.

  • Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.

  • When purchasing or using candles, consider what would happen if the candle burned low. Could it burn the candleholder or decorative material nearby?

  • Avoid candles with combustible items embedded in them.

  • Extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get within two inches of the holder or decorative material. Votives and container candles should be extinguished before the last inch of wax starts to melt.