Commissioner's Blog: Stay safe and well this winter
Keeping warm and safe during the colder months of the year also means being alert to the hazards created by commonly used heating products within the home.
Consumer protection authorities are urging Australians to stay safe this winter by knowing the risks associated with items like hot water bottles, wheat/heat packs, electric blankets and heaters.
June is also Burns Awareness Month, an initiative of Kidsafe Australia that focuses on raising awareness of prevention and correct first aid treatment for burns and scalds across all age groups.
According to the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand (BRANZ), about 76 percent of burn injuries happened in the home and around 18 children a week were admitted to hospital burns units, mostly due to scalds from hot drinks like tea and coffee.
BRANZ also found that nearly a quarter of children and 42 per cent of adults did not receive the recommended ‘gold standard’ first aid treatment for burns, which Kidsafe advises should include applying cool running water to the injury for 20 minutes.
Hot water bottles are popular at this time of year, but they too come with a risk of burns. That’s why it’s important to only fill them with hot tap water, never boiling water, and avoid contact with the skin by using a fitted cover or wrap.
Wheat or heat packs are another way we might try to keep warm, but these can become a fire-hazard if not used correctly. Be sure to follow the heating instructions, and if you smell something burning, then allow it to cool and dispose of the pack.
Electric blankets should always be turned off before falling asleep and remember to place heaters on a flat surface, away from children, pets and combustible items.
Winter is also an important time of year to ensure your smoke alarm still works – if it’s more than 10 years old, it’s due for replacing, while the batteries should be replaced every 12 months.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection
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