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How to keep your kids safe this winter

WintersafeKeep your kids safe and warm with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s winter product safety tips.

Hot water bottles are a real hidden danger. In fact every year in NSW and Victoria around 35 people – young and old – are admitted to hospital with burns relating to hot water bottle accidents. Bursts, spills and splits are the main causes of injuries.

Hot water bottles must be replaced every two years as the rubber perishes from the inside out. Throughout winter check the bottle carefully for cracks and leaks and throw it out if it shows any signs of wear and tear.

Hot water bottles or wheat packs should never be given to babies or young children, as their skin is much too sensitive. For older kids use a bottle to warm their beds, but remove it before they climb under the covers. The pressure of leaning or lying on a hot water bottle can be enough to cause it to burst or leak.

Use warm water to fill the bottle. Water just off the boil not only burns badly but weakens the bottle over time.

Parents and carers looking to relieve aches and pains should be aware that hot water bottle burns can occur gradually. For this reason don’t leave the bottle on one part of the body for too long and always use a cover or fabric wrap to prevent the bottle from being in direct contact with the skin. When using heat packs and wheat bags always follow the heating instructions. Wheat bags can be a fire risk if overheated in the microwave. It is also unsafe to use wheat bags to warm confined spaces such as a bed.

By law children’s nightwear such as pyjamas, bathrobes and baby sleep bags must be labelled as either ‘low fire danger’ or ‘high fire danger’ according to the type of garment or fabric. Help reduce serious burn risks by choosing close fitting nightwear with a ‘low fire danger’ label. However, remember that all fabric is flammable – ‘low fire danger’ doesn’t mean no fire danger.

Avoid accidents by placing cots and bassinettes well away from fireplaces and heaters and keep children from playing near unguarded flames or heating sources.

Recently hot water bottles and various items of children’s nightwear have been recalled. We’ve also seen almost 400,000 electric blankets and 41,000 potentially faulty heaters taken off the shelves or recalled. This winter take a few minutes to check the Recalls Australia website, www.recalls.gov.au or download the app to see if any of these products are in your home.

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