Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

Our Mission: Safer Stronger Communities - Safe Effective Firefighters.

Candles - Product Information

Product Safety

Some members of the British Candlemakers Federation (BCF) use a product labelling scheme that originates from a set of pictograms proposed by the European Candlemakers Federation. The pictograms appear on the packaging, sometimes along with written information on using the candle(s). Although it is useful to have an industry recognised approach to labelling, it is not always consistently used. The pictograms are also sometimes very small or not always obvious in their message for some audiences.

Candles Warning Labels

Tealights and nightlights

Research has shown that tealights present a particular danger because they are regarded as slightly different to other candles. They are less likely to be used with holders because they have a foil outer container. There have also been several incidents where tealights have melted the top of televisions and dropped into the cabinet initiating a fire. Tealights are also used in aromotherapy burners and are likely to be left unattended or in children's rooms.

The names 'tealight' and 'nightlight' are sometimes incorrectly interchanged. Traditionally nightlights are deeper than tealights, burning for about eight hours, compared with four hours for tealights. Nightlights by their very name suggest that they can be left to burn all night. This longer burning time means that they may get hotter and they should not be used in aromotherapy burners. When referring to these types of product, be careful to use the right terminology and encourage others to do so - ideally the use of nightlights should be discouraged.

Point of sale advice

The pictograms and suggested safety wording are explained in a leaflet produced by the British Candlemakers Federation. Some manufacturers have also produced their own, similar versions, for retailers to use.

Generally point of sale information is lacking. Some retailers such as Boots have leaflets with general product and/or candle safety information.

The Home Office has an A5 leaflet with candle safety awareness and advice. This was produced with the advent of the millennium and other seasonal celebrations in mind, but provides simple safety advice appropriate to any use of candles.

'Candles are special' book cover

Candles are take care.

For many people of all ages, candles are at the center of birthdays, family occasions, religious festivals and the home itself. Candles, oil and incense burners and joss sticks will be part of these celebrations.

However candles as with any naked flame, can be a cause of fire, especially in the home... and particularly where there are children.

'Candles are special' page
  • Always place candles well away from curtains, furniture and drapes and always out of draughts.
  • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Keep candles away from hair and clothing.
  • Always place candles upright in suitable holders which cannot fall over easily.
  • Always make sure that candles are properly extinguished, especially before going to bed.

Remember Also:

  • The risk of accidents happening is greater when alcohol has been consumed.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
Page Top