Suppliers scolded over illegal hot water bottles

21 July 2009

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is leading a nation-wide blitz on unsafe hot water bottles after more than 10 people in New South Wales were hospitalised with severe burns this winter alone.

"Investigations by government consumer agencies across Australia have found some hot water bottles fail to meet mandatory safety requirements," ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuel, announced today.

"It is alarming to find children and elderly people severely burnt and to find some retailers selling illegal hot water bottles.

"The ACCC, the states and the territories are now working together to investigate and test hot water bottles across Australia. Preliminary assessments should be available in the upcoming weeks. Unsafe hot water bottles will be withdrawn from sale.

"This is a warning for hot water bottle suppliers to ensure their merchandise is safe and meets the mandatory product safety standard designed to protect all Australians," he said.

The mandatory standard requires hot water bottles to be of an acceptable capacity and thickness and meet stringent performance tests relating to leakages, seam strength and pressure.

"This national investigation will help eradicate unsafe hot water bottles from store shelves across Australia."

"Australians must take extreme caution and stay safe this winter," Mr Samuel said.

"Never use an old hot water bottle - most are only designed for one winter season.

"Always do a quick check of a hot water bottle for weak seams - get rid of it if it shows any sign of perishing or splitting.

"Hot water burns like fire - so never fill a hot water bottle with boiling water. Leaking or splitting hot water bottles cause very serious injuries.

"Never put pressure or lie on top of a hot water bottle.  If you use a hot water bottle to warm a bed, remove it when a person gets in."

The ACCC's brochure, Safety alert: hot water bottles, provides safety tips when using hot water bottles.

Links

Release number: 
NR 176/09
ACCC Infocentre: 

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Media enquiries: 
Mr Graeme Samuel - (02) 6243 1131
Mr Brent Rebecca - (02) 6243 1317