As a young child, I remember some of the nicest memories of my childhood being surrounded by candles. We had candles on cakes, candles when camping, and candles when we were outside enjoying a summer night.
There were candle festivals and candle walks and even a few candlelight services. Candles were something that cast an enchanted light on any festivity and I was only vaguely aware that candles were dangerous.
Sadly, that thought is something that very few people think about, even as adults. We use candles for many of the same reasons that we saw them being used for as children and many times we hardly think about the implications of a lit flame.
It is, after all, such a tiny spark, one that can be blown out so easily but that little spark can quickly ignite into a dangerous blaze.
To keep your home and your family safe, it is important to remember a few general rules about candle safety.
- Never place a candle where it can catch fire.
Yes, I know that seems like an all encompassing thought but candles should always be placed in the center of a table or mantel place. They should never be placed in windows since the flame could ignite drapes, or other window dressings including blinds.
Candles should also be kept away from beds and piles of clothing. A candle can tip easily and it is important to not provide anything that could cause a blaze.
- Keep children and pets away from candles.
This is pretty straightforward. Candles should be up high where a young child can’t reach it or accidentally knock it. The same goes for pets. Dogs have been known to clear a coffee table or two with their tails and a candle could easily be knocked into the couch or onto the carpet.
- Always extinguish a candle before leaving a room.
You know the saying, “Never leave a candle unattended,” well, learn it, say it and remember it. A multitude of things can happen to a candle when you are not in the room and it is better to practice safety completely.
On the topic of extinguishing candles, make sure you extinguish them before you go to bed and also make sure that they are completely extinguished. I have known people who wake up in the morning to find the candle relit and burning happily.
Lastly, if a candle is about an inch from the bottom, extinguish it. Never leave a candle burning for more than 4 hours for both safety reasons and also to get the most out of your candles.
- Follow those directions.
There are many different types of candles on the market today and each one will have slightly different care and burn instructions. If you are not familiar with a brand of candle, or even if you are, read the instructions and follow them.
- Keep the candle in one place.
I have already talked about keeping your candles in a sturdy place but one last point to make about candle safety is to never carry a lit candle around. The melted wax can easily splash up and cause severe burns.
- Keep the candles tidy.
Keeping a candle tidy not only helps keep the candle bright and beautiful but it also keeps the candle much safer. Wicks should always be trimmed to 1/4 inch to keep the flame low and dust, or pet hair should be brushed off the candle before use.
Once you have all the safety tips memorized, it doesn’t take anything to remember them.
Written by Sirena Van Schaik