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Evil, evil candles and the parents who use them

Submitted by on Tuesday, 13 October 2009 4 Comments

Confession from a careless mom: Yes, I use candles. I used them on birthday cakes and jack o’lanterns and every night at dinner.

And I’m going to keep doing it no matter how many people call them a “serious fire hazard.”

The guys were hit with that lecture Saturday during a fire station open house that otherwise offered a lot of valuable information. A special fire safety trailer taught kids how to leave their homes in the event of a blaze, and firefighters provide worksheets to help kids learn how to call 911.

Then there was the autumn decoration exhibit, which featured candle alternatives ranging from solar-powered to battery-operated.

Yes, I get that candles are responsible for thousands of house fires each year – but that’s still only 4 percent of the total. No statistics are available for the number of dwellings that don’t burn down each year.

Yes, I understand that burning candles emit carbon dioxide. So do breathing humans, and if everyone of them trashed their tapers today we’d still have a colossal pollution problem on this planet that snuffing out candles isn’t going to cure.

But let’s get back to the fear factor, which is what bugs me the most. Wouldn’t we be better off teaching kids about safety than trying to scare the bejesus out of them in the name of protection?

Isn’t a kid more protected if he knows not to put candles near curtains and vents and, for pete’s sake, to blow them out if he leaves the room than if he’s taught to recoil in fear at the sign of a flickering flame?

But what do I know? I’m the person who ignored those urging me to keep the guys away from their own birthday cakes. I’m the one who carves pumpkins every year while others decorate them with markers because it’s safer.

I’m just a careless, careless mom.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Mountain Mom said:

    Partylite makes a decent flickering flameless candle but – I didn’t buy them. I love candles, I sell candles, and if they weren’t so darn waxy on the teeth I would probably eat them! Sheesh! My Mama taught us just what you said: Keep them away from curtains, bedding, clothing and explosives (like nail polish and hair spray). It’s just another dumb fear thing to spoil the simple, inexpensive fun things in life. Probably started in that country that makes everything plastic for us, including the plastic battery operated fake candles. Those are a sacreligious! They are just wrong! It’s like plastic chocolate. There’s no joy in it.

    Oh dear. I just ranted didn’t I? I put real candles in my jack-o-laterns. But I just remembered that last year, because it was cute, my teen bought a glass nicely lit pumpkin for indoors. But, it has actual lights, not fake candles!!!! Fake candles! Stupidest thing ever thunk up!

  • Debra said:

    You would have had a stroke if you’d seen that display at the fire department. There were three or four different varieties of fake candles. Unreal – in more ways than one.

    We actually have fake jack-o-lanterns right now, too. But that’s because in the heat here, a real one would be rotten and bug infested in about 12 hours. Last year we went through FOUR real pumpkins. I’m just trying to economize while delaying the inevitable.

  • Carissa said:

    Crap. I decorate our pumpkins with markers cuz I’m getting lazier and lazier!!!

    My kids are begging to REALLY carve one this year… so I’m afraid we’ll be lighting a candle too..

    I hear you on all the ‘saftey’ crap.. maybe they should tell parents to BE THERE when the candles are lit.. huh?

  • Debra said:

    I have an easy out on the pumpkin carving, Carissa. That’s “Dad’s job.” I’m not sure how that happened, other than that he wanted to carve Big Guy’s first one – and it was the first one my husband had ever carved – and from then on it just became tradition. Personally, I can’t stand the smell and the feel of slimy pumpkin guts. I’ll handle the candle-lighting duties later – because I’m careless like that.