Commissioner's blog: Hot safety tips for cold weather
Winter has officially arrived and many of us have already dragged out the winter woollies, electric blankets and hot water bottles, but it’s important to make sure we are using these items safely.
Electric blankets, hot water bottles, heat (or wheat) packs and children’s sleepwear are just some of the winter items that can pose an injury risk if they are old, worn or not used properly.
As with any product – but particularly products that can cause scalds, burns or fires – consumers should always follow user guides.
Each year more than 200 people in Australia are treated for serious burns caused by hot water bottles.
Before using them, you should always check for signs of wear and tear, including cracks forming.
Only use hot tap water, never boiling water, and replace the item as soon as it starts to look worn.
Should you use wheat bags or other heat packs, check that they come with clear heating instructions attached to the product and allow them cool completely before reheating.
If you notice a burning smell, it’s probably been over-heated, so allow the wheat bag to cool down completely before disposing of it.
Many people assume when children’s clothing or nightwear is marked ‘low fire danger’ it is not flammable, but this is not necessarily the case.
‘Low fire danger’ ratings take a number of things into account, including how loose or closely fitted an item is, and therefore the risk of it coming in contact with heaters or fire places.
You should always keep children away from open sources of heat to prevent what can be devastating burn injuries.
Always check electric blankets for signs of wear and tear before use, turn them off before getting into bed, and seek advice from your health practitioner before using one if you are pregnant or have diabetes.