Burning candles add beauty and elegance to any room, but candles also pose a serious fire hazard if you don't keep up with trimming the candle's wick. In fact, fires started from candles caused 6 percent of fire-related deaths in 1998. Nearly half of candle fires occur in the bedroom, often igniting mattresses and sheets. Trimming the wick of a candle improves the candle's appearance, helps the wick burn evenly, and also improves your safety.
Trim candle wicks while candles are extinguished and have been allowed to cool. Trim the wick to approximately 1/4 inch in length, using scissors or a candlewick trimmer. Remove the wick fragments and discard them. Wick fragments could cause a fire if you left them in the pool of wax, as can used matches. Make sure the wick remains in the center of the candle, as an uncentered wick could also cause a fire.
Examine the wick every time you light a candle, and trim it first, if necessary. If you burn a candle for more than an hour or two, check its wick length. If it becomes longer than 1/4 inch, blow out the candle, allow it to cool and then trim the wick before re-lighting.
Never leave burning candles unattended. Do not burn candles while you are out of the house or asleep. Do not leave unsupervised children or pets with candles; about 9 percent of home candle fires are caused by children playing with candles. Children and teenagers should not be permitted to light candles or keep candles in their bedrooms.
Never place a candle near combustible items, such as curtains or cabinets, or near clutter, such as paper or books. Keep candles on flat, non-combustible surfaces out of the reach of children and pets. In addition, make sure you put candles in non-combustible containers. Do not use glass jars if they become cracked.