Northern Territory Consumer Affair’s hot safety tips for cold weather

With an increasing number of people restricted to home, our winter warmers for those that live in the cooler areas of the NT will certainly be getting a workout.

It is vitally important for you and your family’s safety that you know how to check if your warmers are safe to use for another season and how to use them safely.

Electric blankets, hot water bottles, heat (or wheat) packs and children’s sleepwear are just some of the regular winter items that can pose an injury risk. As with any product, but particularly products that can cause scalds, burns or fires, consumers should always follow user guides.

Hot water bottles

Each year, more than 200 people in Australia are treated for serious burns caused by hot water bottles.

You should always check for signs of wear and tear, including cracks forming, before you use your hot water bottle.

When you’re filling your hot water bottle, you should use hot tap water, never boiling water.

Importantly, you should always put something between you and your hot water bottle, such as a towel, and don’t keep it on one part of your body too long to avoid burns. Never sleep with a hot water bottle in your bed. Use it to warm your bed, then remove it before you get in.

Wheat bags

If using wheat bags or other heat packs, check they come with clear heating instructions attached to the product and allow them cool completely before reheating.

If you notice a burning smell, you’ve probably over heated it. Place the wheat bag on a non-flammable surface, such as your kitchen sink, and allow it to cool completely then dispose of it.

Children’s clothing

Many people assume when children’s clothing or nightwear is marked ‘low fire danger’ it is not flammable. 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.

Electric blankets

It should go without saying, but always check electric blankets for signs of wear and tear before use, and turn them off before getting into bed.

If you are pregnant or have diabetes, you should check with your health practitioner before using one.

For more information, visit Product Safety Australia.

To check if a product has been recalled, also visit Product Safety Australia - Recalls.