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Baby girl trying to blow off candle

Are Candles Bad for Babies?


Candles evoke warmth, ambiance, and a sense of relaxation.

But when babies are around, the question of safety arises.

Are candles inherently bad for babies?

Quick Answer

Some studies suggest that burning candles, particularly scented ones, can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals can be harmful to overall health, with potential concerns for developing babies.

Potential Risks of Candles for Babies

1. Fire Hazard:

The primary concern with candles around babies is the obvious one – fire.

A curious toddler reaching out for a flickering flame or knocking over a candle can lead to disastrous consequences.

Always keep candles out of reach of children, and never leave them burning unattended.

2. Air Quality:

Candles, particularly scented ones, release particles and chemicals into the air.

While generally safe for healthy adults in moderate amounts, these can irritate a baby’s developing lungs, especially if they have asthma or allergies.

Exposure to some chemicals found in certain fragrances might even pose long-term health risks.

3. Soot and Toxins:

Certain candle types, especially those made with paraffin wax and synthetic fragrances, release soot and potentially toxic chemicals during burning.

These can settle on surfaces and be inhaled by babies, potentially triggering respiratory issues.

4. Spills and Burns:

Hot wax spills and burns can cause serious injuries to a curious baby exploring their surroundings.

Ensure candles are placed on stable surfaces and away from edges where they might be tipped over.

How to Use Candles Safely Around Babies:

While the potential risks shouldn’t be ignored, there are ways to enjoy the calming ambiance of candles while prioritizing your baby’s well-being:

1. Choose the Right Candles

Opt for natural waxes like beeswax or soy, as they burn cleaner and emit fewer VOCs than paraffin wax.

Avoid heavily scented candles, especially those with synthetic fragrances, which can contain harmful chemicals.

2. Location, Location, Location

Keep candles out of reach of curious hands, ideally on high shelves or in enclosed spaces like lanterns. Never leave a burning candle unattended, even for a moment.

3. Ventilation is Key

Ensure good air circulation in the room where the candle is burning. Open a window or door slightly to let fresh air in and minimize the buildup of soot and VOCs.

4. Shorten the Burn Time

Avoid burning candles for extended periods. A few hours at most is recommended, especially in enclosed spaces.

5. Consider Alternatives

Flameless LED candles offer a safe and realistic alternative for creating a warm ambiance without the fire hazard or air quality concerns.

The Verdict

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use candles around babies is a personal one. Weigh the risks and benefits carefully, prioritizing your baby’s safety above all else.

Remember, you can still create a cozy atmosphere for yourself and your baby without candles.

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Sara Abdalla

Sara Abdalla

Sarah holds a Bachelor's degree in Child Development and her work has been featured in reputable parenting magazines, online forums, and advisory boards.

But Sarah doesn't just stop at research and expertise. As a mother of two herself, Sarah has amassed a wealth of experiences about what truly works for babies and what falls short of expectations.