Lower temps mean higher injury rates: stay warm and well this winter

Released 11/07/2019

As the temperature drops outside, injuries across Australia rise as a result of faulty, damaged or incorrectly used heating products.

This includes hot water bottles with about 200 people treated each year for serious burns from them.

Quick facts:

  • Each year multiple children are admitted to hospital with burns sustained from their clothing catching fire and more than 50 people across Australia die from house fires.
  • Many winter products and appliances can be unsafe if they are faulty, damaged or used incorrectly.
  • To help prevent a tragedy, ensure smoke alarms are working and check products such as heaters, electric blankets, hot water bottles and heat packs are in good condition before you use them.
  • Children's clothing and nightwear with a 'low fire danger' label is still flammable, so always keep children away from open heat sources, like fireplaces and heaters.
  • If the goods have been recalled, it's important to return them to the store for a refund or remedy.
  • When filling a hot water bottle ensure you use hot tap water and not boiling water. Replace it as soon as it starts to look cracked or worn.
  • For more information and tips on staying safe this winter visit www.act.gov.au/accessCBR

"Using faulty heating appliances and products can lead to serious dangers or injuries", ACT Fair Trading Commissioner David Snowden said.

"Products designed to keep you warm like heaters and electric blankets are coming out of storage or being purchased. These products pose a safety risk if used or stored incorrectly, and can also become unsafe when used together, or with other products.

"It's important that Canberrans carefully check products for any faults or damages before using them. Always read the manufacturer's instructions before first use and keep them for future reference.

"Keep your heater clean and avoid build-up of dust and debris within the heater enclosure. If your electrical heater repeatedly blows a fuse or has given you a shock, you should disconnect it immediately and have it repaired by a licensed electrician or replace it – never use damaged heaters.

"Anyone with open-flued gas heaters should have them checked immediately by a licensed gas fitter who can test for carbon monoxide spillage. If gas heaters are faulty, poorly maintained or don't get enough air to operate, they won't burn the gas properly.

"In extreme cases they will emit toxic carbon monoxide and other lethal gases which can't be seen and have no smell. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in any home or building which uses gas heating, including newer homes, and can cause death or chronic illness.

"Hot water bottles are used widely for warmth and to help ease pain, but they can cause serious burns if left on the body for too long. Never lean or sit on a hot water bottle and always use a fitted cover or wrap the bottle with a towel," Mr Snowden said.

- Statement ends -

Section: Access Canberra | Media Releases

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