back to article Boy burned in Nintendo sensor substitution

Firefighters today warned gamers not to simulate the Nintendo Wii's sensor bar with candles after an eight-year-old boy set himself on fire doing just that. The nipper from Carmarthenshire was hospitalised with burns to his arms and chest after using tea candles in place of the console's sensor, BBC News reports. Wii candles …


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  1. DPWDC

    Not sure where he gets his tea lights, but even the Waitrose ones are 50 for a quid.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      multiple candles

      I bet the conversation starts with "four candles....."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What? I mean... what?

    Maybe I'm missing the point spectacularly here, but... why would anyone feel the need to try this? The Wii comes with the sensor bar (well, ours did), and Blu-tacking the bar to the top of the telly during setup isn't exactly a mind-defeating exercise, so what on Mario-world would be the point of the candles?

    Anonymous, just in case there's a really simple explanation and I end up looking thick...

    1. Piro

      Re: What? I mean... what?

      I'm assuming they knackered the sensor by dropping it, or the weak cable got broken somehow, maybe a family pet being too enthusiastic.

    2. sisk

      Re: What? I mean... what?

      I found the need for a replacement after my idiotic cat chewed up the cable on my sensor bar. I'm guessing this is a similar scenario.

      Granted I broke out the soldering iron and made a new one with infrared LEDs rather than resorting to tea candles (for fear of afore mentioned mentally challenged feline setting fire to himself and/or the house).

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What? I mean... what?

      I would assume the same action that caused the candles to burn the child has caused the death of the sensor bar.

      Mum always did tell me to sit back from the telly.

  3. Zippy the Pinhead

    Do we really need a warning for this?


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this only works if you are not 8 years old............and capable of lookign after a small flame in a safe way

  5. scarshapedstar


    Even when I was 8, I'm pretty sure I could avoid self-immolating via tea candle.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Never underestimate the ingenuity of a fool."


  7. GougedEye

    Clearly the use of small candles should not be contemplated before a suitable Risk Assessment is conducted and of course, appropriate training.

    1. Dotter

      A man with a clipboard may be required.

  8. ItsNotMe

    Darwinism at its best.

    Warning label to follow, as soon as the lawyers get it approved.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Candle in the Wii?

    And it seems to me you played your Wii with two candles in the wind,

    Never thinking you'd get burned when the game began...

    And your parents had to have failed here with their safety skills,

    Your candles burned your clothes off long before the sensor ever will...

    1. Tim #3

      Re: Candle in the Wii?

      In salute to you sir, I have raised a foil balloon picturing Princess Diana above my desk

      1. Martin Huizing

        I may be one of few (or many)...

        ...that when I hear 'candle in the wind', I am thinking about Norma Jean Baker and not Lady Di (who, as a person with creat compassion I have admired till her untimely death.)

    2. Jonathan 10
      Thumb Up

      Re: Candle in the Wii?


  10. Andy 6

    i wonder. . . .

    i wonder if when my friend is playing, me holding a naked flame from my lighter near him would screw up his gameplay.. . . .

    1. ItsNotMe

      Re: i wonder. . . .

      Possibly...but if YOU were naked, and holding a flame, that might have an effect on him. Just don't turn your back.

      Coat...backs away slowly...

  11. Jediben


    The only way to get any out of the Wii

  12. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Want to bet...

    His parents said "you broke it, we don't have the money to fix it" and the rest is history, as they say.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Want to bet...

      An 8 year old has searched the net and found this as a solution!

      Why have the perents allowed an 8year old to search the net! Why wasn't he playing outside?

      WOW 'glish parents have no clue!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Want to bet...

        Why have the perents allowed an 8year old to search the net!

        >> Beacuse its 2012 and 8 year olds can do that now, they teach IT (to a degree) in schools and everything now - Shocking I know.

        Why wasn't he playing outside?

        >> Because its f*cking cold outside/Raining/Dark - ie past the time you would want kids out but not late enough for them to be marched upstairs?

        I may have missed some sarcasm in your post, I hope I did.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Want to bet...

        Last time I checked Carmarthenshire was in Wales but who am I to judge a foreigner's lack of geographical knowledge..

  13. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  14. tekHedd

    i know this is terribly wrong but...

    Am I the only person here who is thinking "wow, I totally have to try that?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: i know this is terribly wrong but...

      I have tried it. It works extremely well....

  15. Dan 55 Silver badge

    "It would be far cheaper to either get the system repaired or to replace it completely."

    Oddly enough I know people who would be clever enough throw the whole system out and buy a new one just because the 'sensor' bar broke, and I'm surprised they've managed to stay alive this long.

    1. Steve the Cynic

      Re: "It would be far cheaper to either get the system repaired or to replace it completely."

      Or just buy an aftermarket substitute sensor bar? Is that so hard?

      Or maybe you lot over there in Blighty don't have access to such things, but over here in France, any shop selling Wii accessories (Game, Micromania, Carrefour, Auchan, etc. - the last two are *supermarkets* ffs) will have at least one, possibly more, sort of replacement sensor bar, wired or not.

      FAIL for all the various people who are too dim to know better, and probably shouldn't be allowed to even stand in the same room as a piece of technology.

      1. Goat Jam

        "Or just buy an aftermarket substitute sensor bar? Is that so hard?"

        You clearly have had little contact with the average non technical preson, have you?

        The problem occurs because the person is not even aware that the sensor bar is an issue.

        "It's not working" is as far as they get and the solution then becomes "We must buy a new Wii"

      2. Ben Rosenthal

        Re: Re: "It would be far cheaper to either get the system repaired or to replace it completely."

        "you lot over there in Blighty"

        Never go to Wales mate, they'll burn you and stick you on top of the telly for less than that.

  16. lemmac

    surely the warning should be don't let 8 year olds play with candles, the fact that they were being used as a replacement to a sensor is irrelevant. They could have been sitting on a table, windowsill or by his bed for all the difference it would make.

    1. Keep Refrigerated


      I agree the sensor bar is irrelevant, but considering the testament of 'You've Been Framed' that adults are perfectly capable of accidentally getting burned by small flames (think birthday candles and permed hair), I disagree that any additional warning about candles need be applied.

      For once, I'd like to see the authorities and media just accept accidents happen without having to launch into a 'new-warning-or-legislation-is-needed-for-something-that-is-already-dangerous-but-has-been-used-in-a-slightly-non-obvious/innovative-way-to-its-normal/obvious-usage'.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Warning

        I used to play D&D with a bloke who had a well-earned reputation for clumsy cockups.

        Once, as DM, he decided to add to the mood by playing under candlelight. In the centre of the table was a large candle, with others positioned around the room. At one point he reached out with his right hand to indicate something in the figure positions on the table and burned his arm in the candle flame. Ten minutes later, he did exactly the same thing again. A few minutes after that........well, you get the picture.

        After about the fifth time, one of us took pity on him and moved the candle. Then he indicated something with his left hand, putting the whole thing into "rinse and repeat" mode.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: Re: Warning

          You Brits must have some damned advanced candles over there. When I was a kid we use to hold our a hand over the candle to see who could keep it there longest before the pain caused us to move it away. Did the same thing moving our fingers through the flame. Never got burned though.

  17. Richard Ball

    ...far cheaper to either get the system repaired or....

    I shouldn't think he actually planned upon setting fire to anything so telling them after the event that £a > £b, and therefore why do it, is irrelevant bollocks.

    And also completely missing the point of TRYING STUFF OUT - but then safety and killjoy are effectively two sides of the same coin.

    1. Shaun 1

      Re: ...far cheaper to either get the system repaired or....

      No, the conversation would be: "If you don't spend £100 on a new Wii, I'll set the house on fire"

  18. Mike Kamermans
    Thumb Up

    So the real wtf is...

    How do you get a dangerous situation with tea candles. Everyone who actually uses them for tea knows to teach their child they go in the little candle holder, and then you can literally walk away from them forever, they are pretty much designed for unattended burning. I would completely trust an 8 year old with tea candles, provided their parents taught them the little "put them in the holder, dear" rule. I'm willing to call parental fail, not for letting a kid play unattended with a wii, or using the internet at age 8, or even following advice found on the internet (because a 5 penny candle-sensor-"bar" is a cool and perfectly safe temporary solution), but for forgetting to teach their kid what in later life will be called common sense. Candles? Do not light unless in holders. Job done, glance at 8 year old wobbling about with some candles on the mantle. Smile at kid antics.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How do you get a dangerous situation with tea candles.

      Its possible. Because they liquify completly they can flare up under the right (or wrong) circumstances. I know this because I've accidentally done it, resulting in a large second degree burn to each ankle. In my case you're correct that a lack of a proper holder was a factor (I had a plate of them on the hearth - it looked really pretty, but my ankles didn't afterwards).

      With a Wii I'll believe its possibly to get a flare-up even with a proper holder. Enthusiastic play combined with no wrist strap has resulted in damaged TVs, vases, etc. I'll believe it can also send a tealight flying, in a proper holder or not. I know it took me around an hour to smash a light fitting even using the wrist strap.

      (a.c. because my friends could identify me from this post and I don't want to give my username away)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: How do you get a dangerous situation with tea candles.

        P.S. Yes I know, I'm a clumsy sod.

        1. Goat Jam


          Step 1) Light tea candles

          Step 2) Wax liquefies

          Step 3) Wonder whether they are ideally positioned

          Step 4) Decide they are not, attempt to move them

          Step 5) Typical 8 yo lack of co-ordination causes liquid wax to splash on to hand

          Step 6) Typical 8 yo reaction to pain is to violently jerk hand away

          Step 7) Burning candle flies across the room, sets fire to curtains.

          It's not that hard to imagine really.

    2. Trygve Henriksen

      NEVER leave these candles unattended!

      I've had candles like these flare up with 8" flames with no warning at all.

      This happens mostly with the cheaper brands, but can happen to any of them.

      Flame icon, because... well... 8" flames!

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: NEVER leave these candles unattended!

        The old school ones used to be made out of paper, rather than metal (the outer casing that is). I found out that it's possible to set fire to the paper, as well as the wick, which if you're lucky, can bring the liquefied wax up to boiling point, with suitably hilarious results.

        I seem to remember doing this at about the age of 10 or so, but as I was outside, and my parents assumed that I wasn't stupid enough to stick my hand in a flame no burns resulted.

    3. Sooty

      Re: So the real wtf is...

      I seem to recall a safety warning about these several years ago after a few accidents, people would put them on top of their tv's... old school crt's... without a plate, holder etc.

      The lights would get hot enough to melt through the plastic top and they would fall inside, setting the tv on fire. At the time I recall thinking "only an idiot would do that"

  19. Anonymous John

    "I cannot believe how stupid this family have been," said a fire brigade spokesman


  20. The Indomitable Gall

    Is the top of your TV flat?

    The top of my TV is slightly sloped. The top of the TV in the sitting room is flat, but very narrow.

    I suspect this is why things went a bit Pete Tong.

    1. Martin

      Re: Is the top of your TV flat?

      The sensor bar can live UNDER the TV - you just change a setting in the Wii. Presumably the candles could too.

      1. Dayjo

        Re: Re: Is the top of your TV flat?

        Because putting candles under the TV is a brilliant idea..

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Is the top of your TV flat?

      The sensor bar comes with tape to hold it to either flat or sloped surfaces.

      Others have mentioned other decent solutions as well.

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