Scented Candles Pose Potential Health Risks To Babies

Most of us love scented candles. They fill our rooms with fragrances, help us relax in the tub, and cover up bad smells. Which is fine for adults, and when done less frequently. But what about the little ones? The babies in our family? Studies have shown that scented candles pose a serious health risk to infants. And here is why.

Who hasn’t used scented candles to maybe cover up that dirty diaper smell? Maybe the fragrance promises to have a calming effect?




Or you just love the smell of it so much, you want your entire house to smell good. After reading this you might think twice about lighting up that candle around your baby. Take Meghan Budden’s story for instance.

She learned about the dangers of scented candles in a quite scary way. While nursing her infant, she noticed little black dots in his nostrils. She tried to clean his little nose, but she couldn’t remove the spots.

While trying to figure out where those spots came from, she remembered that on the previous night she had left two scented candles burning for about six hours. She retrieved the packaging and started to read the fine print. It read, “Do not burn more than three hours at a time.”

Meghan realized that the soot produced by the candles had spread through the room in which her infant son was staying. Which he, undoubtedly, breathed in. You might also like to read how a heroic cat saved a babies life.

A 2001 EPA study shows that candles with more fragrance in them produce more soot. The soot particles are very small, which makes it easy to breath them in.

scented candles

What are the health risks for babies involving scented candles

Anne Steinemann is an environmental pollutants expert. She is also a professor of civil engineering, and the chair of sustainable cities at the University of Melbourne. According to Steinemann, certain candles may emit numerous types of potentially hazardous chemicals. These can cause illnesses and other serious health complications like, “damage to the brain, lung and central nervous system, as well as cause developmental difficulties.”



She adds, “I have heard from numerous people who have asthma that they can’t even go into a store if the store sells scented candles, even if they aren’t being burned. They emit so much fragrance that they can trigger asthma attacks and even migraines.”

Scientists found that you don’t even need to light the candle for it to pose a health threat. Just simple evaporation enables the candles to pollute your home. Other studies show that the chemicals can be absorbed by the body through contact.

Once you light scented candles, they can produce dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde and paraffin.  Long-term exposure can raise your risk for respiratory issues and cancer. Often we lurking dangers in our home without even being aware of it. Like the story of this woman who lost her dog to a common item we all have.

These chemicals are also contained in the soot produced by the candles. According to Cashins & Associates, there are currently around “20,000 premature deaths in America each year” that are attributed to soot in general.

How you can keep your baby safe

To help keep your baby safe, experts recommend to trim candle wicks regularly, and only light them for short periods time. This should prevent soot from forming.




Or you can make your own candles, carefully choosing the type of wax and fragrance. But, who has time for that?

To be on the save side, don’t burn the candles with your baby in the room, and make sure the room is well ventilated.

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