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Candles: If in doubt, turn it out!

Remember: candles are not toys!

Whether at celebrations or just as a decoration, candles always add a warm and relaxing feeling to the venue. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the important thing to remember is that candles are never classed as toys!


It comes as no surprise that the biggest risk with any candle is fire, because irrespective of size, shape, colour or scent, they all carry a flame and fuel source.

Did you know that in 2016/2017, there were approximately 161,770 fire incidents attended by the  Fire & Rescue Service in the UK alone? 


30,296 of these were in residential dwellings! 


It is important to note that the risk of a fatality is not uniform across age or gender. Even with an operational smoke alarm fitted, there were 47 fatalities across the UK in 2016/2017! 


of the 30,296 dwelling fires were from candles.


of the 47 fatalities were from candles.

There are three safety standards for candles, which include:

BS EN 15426:2007

Candles. Specification and sooting behaviour

BS EN 15493: 2007

Candles. Specification for fire safety

BS EN 15494: 2007


Product safety labels

Don't skip the label!

It is important you read the warnings and safety information in order to remain responsible and safe around candles. Below are the types of warnings you may expect to find on a candle:


Never leave a burning candle unattended

Burn candle out of reach of children and pets


Do not burn candles near anything that can catch fire.


Always leave a safe distance between candles (if specified). If not, leave at least 7 cm between candles.

Each of these pieces of text will be accompanied by a symbol, which should illustrate the warnings.

Things to consider when using candles:

     NOT a toy!

Candles are not toys, regardless of their shape, size or colour. Some candles are manufactured to have child appeal but please be aware that these candles are still not specifically classed as toys and should never be treated as such.

     Read the label!

Always read the labels on the packaging for product specific information.

 Read labels!

Turn it out!

Never leave a burning candle unattended.

     Turn it out!

 Use a lighter!

When lighting the candle, use a suitable lighter and avoid small matches. If using a match, hold it as horizontally as possible when lit as holding it vertically can result in the risk of a burn. Do not attempt to light partly burnt candles in holders with matches - use a suitable lighter.

     Use a lighter!

Burn candles well out of the reach of children and pets.

     Far away!

If the flame appears uncontrolled, put it out.

     Put it out!



Keep the distance!

Burn candles at least 60 cm away from anything that can catch fire, such as curtains, drapes, clothes or paper decorations.


         Up up!

Do not place candles on the floor or anywhere they may be knocked over.

The right surface

Only place candles on heat resistant and non-flammable surfaces.

Keep the distance!

If burning a bunch of candles together, place them at least 7 cm apart or at the recommended distance according to the packaging instructions. Some candles placed close together can flare-up.

Watch the draught!

Do not burn candles close to draughts. A draught can cause uneven burning and in some cases, carry soft furnishings into the flame.

Away from heat!

Place candles away from sources of heat. They can melt and catch fire.

Keep the candles in an upright position. Candle flames heating glass holders can cause them to crack. Tilted candles will cause excessive wax dripping.

The right position

The right surface!

Use candles in an appropriate candle holder, especially tea lights since they can get quite hot. Candle holders should be heat resistant and non-flammable.


Remove the debris!

To avoid any excessive flaring, ensure the wax pool is kept clear of any debris. You can remove excess debris by extinguishing the candle and letting it cool, before using a spoon or dinner knife to remove debris.


      Trim the wick!

If the wick is bigger than 1 cm, trim it using scissors before you light it. If you notice a carbon build-up forming a club, turn out the candle and trim the excess wick. 

        Snuff out!

Always try and snuff out the candles rather than blowing them out. Blowing candles creates a risk of molten wax spitting.

Don't use liquids!

Do not use liquids to extinguish candles. It can crack glass containers and cause the wax to spit. A safe alternative for candles that are not easily extinguished is to cover them with a damp cloth.

Dispose of the candle when there is approximately 1 cm left in the bottom. Let it cool before disposing of. Letting a candle burn out risks starting a fire and glass holders cracking.

Disposing of it

   Use the holders!

Floating candles should only be used in water as the water affects their safe burning.​

Tea lights must be used in holders.

Floating candles

Is it ventilated?

Ensure all areas for candle burning are well ventilated.

   Ventilated areas

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