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11 June 2019
Two people sitting in front of a fire

Many winter products can be unsafe if they are old, faulty or used incorrectly. To help you stay safe while keeping warm this winter, here are our top tips.

Wheat/heat packs

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. 

Hot water bottles

Each year more than 200 people are treated for serious burns while using hot water bottles. To prevent injury, use hot tap water and not boiling water to fill your hot water bottle. Never overfill your hot water bottle, and never leave on one body part for more than 20 minutes.  Use a fitted cover or wrap the bottle before use. Replace the water bottle as soon as it starts to look cracked or worn.  

Electric blankets

Check that your electric blanket is in good condition before you use it. If you notice any damage, throw the blanket away. Damaged or faulty electric blankets can cause an electric shock or a fire. Don’t sleep with your electric blanket switched on.

Smoke alarms

Each year more than 50 people across Australia die from house fires and many more are injured. Most of these homes did not have working smoke alarms. To help prevent a tragedy, test your smoke alarm is working every month and replace the batteries every year.

Candles

Extinguish candles when leaving the room or before going to sleep. Keep candles away from combustible material like curtains, bedding and clothing. 

Children’s clothing

Children’s nightwear is flammable, even if it has ‘low fire danger’ on the label. Always keep children away from open heat sources, like fireplaces and heaters. 

Insulation

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. 

Mould

Poor ventilation and moisture in the air inside homes during winter can lead to increased mould growth. Any mould needs to be removed by scrubbing with soapy water. Ventilate your house by opening windows and doors each day to reduce the growth of mould. 

Check for recalls

Carefully check that your 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 other remedy. 

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