Picture of an oil lamp with its burning flame.

Oil lamps are petroleum products and can cause serious health damage if someone ingests the lamp oil.

Lamp oils

Content:

Every year, lamp oil or paraffin oil/kerosene causes serious accidents among young children. The risk of accidents is reduced if you store the lamp oil out of sight and reach of children. There is also a risk when leaving a small child unattended in the same room as an oil lamp. This also applies to the lamp when it is not lit.

Every year, children are injured after drinking lamp oil or paraffin oil/kerosene. It also happens that children ingest lamp oil after sucking on the wick in oil lamps. These types of petroleum products can easily get down into the airways and cause life-threatening lung damage. Small amounts are enough to cause breathing difficulties in children.

Packaging for lamp oils must be marked with a hazard symbol and warning text and have a child-resistant closure. They may only be sold in black, opaque bottles that do not hold more than one litre. The purpose is to minimise the risk of small children ingesting the product.

Read about labelling and hazard symbols

How to reduce the risk of accidents

  • Store bottles containing lamp oil out of reach and sight of children.
  • Do not rely on the so-called child-resistant closures. Children are still able to open these closures. It just takes longer. Remember to screw on the cap securely after use.
  • Do not pour lamp oil into jugs, soda bottles or similar containers. This increases the risk of someone ingesting the product.
  • Never leave oil lamps unattended if there are small children nearby. This also applies to the lamp when it is not lit.
  • When purchasing an oil lamp, check that it is stable and that the lamp oil is not accessible. Also check that the lamp has a wick guard. The cover should preferably be able to sit on the lamp even when it is lit.

Oil lamps sold and used in the EU must meet certain requirements

It can be good to know that decorative oil lamps sold to you as a private individual must meet certain requirements according to a European quality standard (EN 14059: 2002). For example, the lamp should be stable, not leak and not be tempting for small children to play with. You must also be able to find the contact details of the manufacturer or importer on the lamp together with information on the standard that applies to the lamp.

Call 112 if a child has ingested lamp oil

Read more about lamp oils at the Swedish Poisons Information Centre (in Swedish only) external link

Last published 10 November 2020