Aromatherapy candles can be a great way to relax after a long day, and a scented type of candle remains popular in many households. However, their safety for children can be questionable.
Are scented candles bad for babies? Yes! As the sense of smell develops, it is best to not over-stimulate the olfactory (smell) receptors of a baby or small infant.
Paraffin wax candles with scented perfumes can leave your home smelling fresh or fruity, among a whole host of other aromas that are ideal and pleasant.
However, exposure to powerful smells can be difficult for a developing nose to fully process. Not to mention harmful chemicals and artificial perfumes which can hurt a babies lungs.
There are plenty of reasons to not light smelly candle sets near small children, but we’ll be getting into all of them so you know what is safest for you and your child.
Every parent wants what is best for their child, so we are here to help. Let’s look at what other things you need to know about scented candles and your children.
Candle Safety Around Babies
Candle wax may pose a fire hazard to small children as they often fall on carpets, rugs, furniture and other surfaces while playing.
On top of respiratory issues you may face, burns are the more serious and immediate danger to children crawling and playing near an open flame candle.
To avoid these safety hazards, remove candles from small children’s reach at all times and clean up any spilled candle wax immediately.
Candles to Avoid
In many homes, candle burning is still a daily ritual. However, using candles releases unhealthy gases and particles into the air.
In addition, using paraffin candles may cause your baby to be burned. Although it can be difficult to give up candle burning traditions, you may find it easier if you avoid paraffin candles around a newborn baby.
There are many health concerns associated with using paraffin candles. These include negative effects on the respiratory system.
Even though there are alternatives to using candles, it’s best to avoid these when possible around any babies or young children in the home.
Aerosols, Perfumes, and Fragrances
The use of artificial fragrances help businesses cut the cost of sourcing materials naturally, or organically. In turn, this helps keep their products cheap.
However, chemicals getting into our respiratory systems is seriously problematic. Since burning a candle makes these artificial perfumes into aerosols, we are breathing them in as we use our favorite scented candles.
Inhaling substances like these can just lead to a bit of a cough or a tickle in your throat. More seriously though, it can turn into asthma exacerbation.
Consistent damage to your lungs or the lungs of a newborn can cause asthma attacks if not properly cared for, and monitored.
This is largely an issue with paraffin candles, as we mentioned earlier, which use these non-organic compounds regularly in their scents and aromas.
Scented Candle Allergies
Candles with scents can also lead to you discovering underlying allergies in your child, even if they are allergies you don’t have yourself.
A history of allergies in your family medical history may give you some idea of what to expect, but the truth is that allergies can really spring up out of nowhere.
Some children will be allergic to the chemicals and artificial perfumes that we mentioned above, and there is really no cure or fix for it other than avoiding the allergic triggers.
Awareness for allergies can be great to know early, so you can better cater to your child’s needs. However, newborns can have very bad reactions, so you’re better off doing an allergy test later.
Allergic reactions like harsh rashes can seriously upset a baby, and lead to skin disorders such as dermatitis or eczema. Worse reactions can even be fatal, although perfume allergies are unlikely to cause anaphylaxis.
Candles for Babies
If you are desperate for a candle, even with your child in danger, then there are things you could try. Electric candles for example, provide a similar glow to the real deal.
Although electric candles won’t be fragrant, thus not harming your baby, they do offer that cosy ambient light you get from a regular burning candle.
If you still want to light a candle, then you will be better off not using scented products. Instead, try more natural remedies without added chemical mixtures.
Beeswax candles are great for this. Totally unscented, they also offer a natural form of wax to burn in place of chemical heavy paraffin wax.
Natural wax candles can be a safe candle for a child, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use common sense when having them in and around your home.
Keep open flames out the reach of children, and even unlit candles can prove a minor danger. Glass containers can easily shatter, and can hold heat after you blow out the wick.
Introducing your baby to candles will take some serious effort on your part for safety purposes. For this reason, we would suggest avoiding it entirely.
However, if you’re comfortable and confident handling both babies and open flames, then by all means take care of both at the same time.
Scented Candles and Pregnancy
Using a candle during pregnancy has many of the same issues as using a candle around babies and newborns in the first place. Thankfully, this makes the remedies similar as well.
Toluene chemicals found in paraffin wax candles can be very dangerous. They are known carcinogens, and are very irritating to our respiratory systems.
So if you don’t want to hurt the delicate lungs of both yourself and your child, what can you do? How can you still enjoy a candle while pregnant?
It really boils down to the type of wax for candles that you use. The previously mentioned paraffin wax being among the worst for its chemical cocktail.
However, a natural candle wax avoids all these issues. Beeswax and other natural cures for the problem are readily available, although they are unscented.
Still, we find them far better than the alternative electric candles, which are only good for producing some light and adding onto your electricity bills.
Smell is one of the human senses which can flow through the whole body. I am the Founder of NeoCandle.com where we talk all about scented candles. Known as Candace the Candle Girl, I know pretty much all there is to know about scented candles. I make and sell them on Etsy and Ebay – so be sure to ask if you have any burning questions 🙂 (pun intended 😉 )