The popularity of candles has grown dramatically in recent years with U.S. consumer candle retail sales over $2 billion annually, not including candle accessories.
People have safely enjoyed using candles for centuries. Their colors and scents enhance everyday life and evoke memories of special events. Candles are a source of light and delight when used properly and according to manufacturers’ directions.
However, if certain precautions are not taken by the consumer, candles can also become a factor in a chain of events that can result in unnecessary injury and even death.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, candle fires account for 2.4% of all fires and result in 6% of total injuries from fires and 3% of all fatalities from fires. Due to the significant increased usage of candles, these figures have been increasing. Candles, of course, still rank far behind cigarettes, matches and lighters as the product of ignition in residential fires.
The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) reports candle fire incidents occur most often in the bedroom (45.2%), then in the family room (17.5%) and the bathroom (11.2%). The kitchen accounts for 6.3% of candle fire incidents. NFIRS also reports that the materials most often ignited by candles are cabinetry (9.4%); bedding (blankets, sheets, comforters, etc.) (7.7%); curtains and drapery (7.2%); mattresses & pillows (5.5%).
The most startling statistic from NFIRS is the fact that nearly 85% of the candle fire incidents were started because of consumer misuse of the product. Following are some of the categories of ignition factors cited by NFIRS:
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) reports national samples of data from emergency rooms across the country. Fire injuries account for approximately one-third of all injuries related to candles reported. The rest are basically from burns or lacerations. These injuries are also increasing, although not as fast as actual candle usage is increasing. Of the fire injuries, 55% result from "body part burned on flame or fire". Of the non-fire injuries, the highest numbers come from:
The candle manufacturer members of
the National Candle Association are concerned with these statistics.
They have instituted a candle products subcommittee of the American
Society for Testing and Materials to develop labeling standards to warn
consumers and have continued a public education campaign to alert
consumers to the dangers that can be present if candles are not used
safely. The following simple candle safety tips are important to
memorize when using candles:
NEVER LEAVE A BURNING
NEVER PLACE A BURNING
CANDLE NEAR SOMETHING THAT CAN CATCH FIRE
KEEP BURNING CANDLES
OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN OR PETS
NEVER LEAVE A BURNING CANDLE UNATTENDED
NEVER PLACE A BURNING CANDLE NEAR SOMETHING THAT CAN CATCH FIRE
KEEP BURNING CANDLES OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN OR PETS
To help educate consumers about proper candle use, many U.S. candle manufacturers include directions on their candles and warning labels citing the warnings listed above.
Some additional tips that will help you use and enjoy candles safely are:
By following these simple steps, consumers can continue to enjoy candles. To learn more about candle safety, contact the National Candle Association at 202-393-2210. (Information From National Candle Foundation)