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11 June, 2019

Product safety

Stay safe this winter

Winter is here and that means products designed to keep you warm, like heaters, electric blankets, hot water bottles and heat packs are coming out of storage or being purchased. Remember that these products don’t just pose a safety risk if used or stored incorrectly, they can become unsafe when used together, or with other products.

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. Multiple children are admitted to hospital every year with burns sustained from their clothing catching fire, and more than and 200 people are treated for serious burns while using hot water bottles.

Each year, more than 50 people across Australia die from house fires and many more are injured. Most of the homes do not have working smoke alarms.

To help prevent a tragedy, ensure smoke alarms are working and check appliances such as heaters and electric blankets are in good condition before you use them.

A properly insulated home provides year-round comfort but the material needs to be correctly installed and foil products should be kept away from electrical power outlets or lights. Be careful not to move the insulation when doing home repairs.

Poor ventilation and moisture in the air inside homes during winter can lead to increased mould growth. Any mould needs to be removed and the area kept ventilated to avoid regrowth.

Our tips for winter safety include:

  • Carefully check electric blankets, hot water bottles and other winter items are in good condition and have not been recalled. If the goods have been recalled, return them to the store for a refund or remedy.
  • Test your smoke alarm is working every month and replace the batteries every year.
  • Use hot tap water and not boiling water to fill your hot water bottle. Replace it as soon as it starts to look cracked or worn.
  • Only buy wheat bags or other heat packs that come with clear heating instructions. Overheating your wheat bag can cause the bag to ignite and start a fire.
  • Children’s clothing and nightwear with a ‘low fire danger’ label is still flammable, so always keep children away from open heat sources.
  • Extinguish candles when leaving the room or before going to sleep and keep candles away from combustible material like curtains, bedding and clothing.
  • Ventilate your house by opening windows and doors each day to reduce the growth of mould.
  • A well-insulated home provides year-round comfort but it needs to be correctly installed – keep foil products away from electrical power outlets or lights.

More information is available at www.productsafety.gov.au/wellwinter

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