There are between 1,500 and 1,900 injuries and 34 to 40 fatalities per year in the EU due to fire-related accidents caused by children playing with cigarette lighters. A child-resistant cigarette lighter is defined as a lighter that is designed and manufactured in such a way that it cannot, under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, be operated by children younger than 4 years of age.
Lighters that resemble another object commonly recognised as appealing to or intended for use by children are banned. These include lighters the shape of which resembles cartoon characters, toys, guns, watches, telephones, musical instruments, vehicles, the human body or parts of the human body, animals, food or beverages, or that play musical notes or have flashing lights or moving objects or other entertaining features. The primary objective in this respect is to protect children.
According to consumer feedback, matches involve problems including poor lighting and breaking when struck. Their phosphorus heads have also been found to come off while lit, resulting in damage to consumers and their property. Tests conducted by importers and the authorities have not, however, revealed any major concerns. Instead, the matches have complied with the safety requirements set on them.
Those importing matches, having them manufactured for them or retailing them must ensure that matches meet the safety requirements set and that they do not pose a risk to consumer safety. Boxes of matches must also feature all the markings necessary for safety in Finnish and Swedish, including the instruction to keep matches out of the reach of young children.
Consumers can personally affect match safety by striking them correctly. The correct way to light a match is to strike it lightly away from yourself − do not use too much force. Matches must be stored in a dry place indoors out of the reach of children. Natural wood reacts easily to changes in humidity and therefore major changes in temperature may affect the qualities of matches.