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Warm up Safely This Winter

flaming wheat bagThe Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is encouraging consumers to check the Recalls Australia website or download the Recalls Australia app so they can warm up safely this winter.

“As the weather cools off, people are starting to look through their closets for last year’s winter warmers but what they may not realise is that some items have been recalled due to safety hazards,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“Of particular concern is the low return rate of recalled electric blankets. Over 400,000 unsafe electric blankets recalled since 2010, many due to the risk of fire hazards or electrocution but only ten per cent have been returned by consumers for refund or remedy.”

These include electric blankets sold nationally by ALDI, Woolworths, Myer, Retravision, BIG W, Kmart and others.

The ACCC is also warning about safe use of common household goods that pose hidden dangers such as wheat bags and hot water bottles.

“Wheat bags, also known as wheat packs, heat bags or microwaveable personal warmers, are not intended for use as bed warmers as they have been linked to starting fires when put under bedding or after being left in the microwave for too long,” Ms Rickard said.

“A hot water bottle is a better choice for heating a bed than wheat bags but should be removed before stepping into the bed to avoid serious burns and scalds. You should also carefully inspect your hot water bottle for cracks or sign of wear. A simple way is to put cold water in the bottle first to check for leaks.”

Winter safety tips:

  • Never use boiling water to fill your hot water bottle and 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, and never overheat your bag as this could cause the bag to ignite and start a fire.
  • Download the free iPhone or Android Recalls Australia app to see if a winter product you plan to use has been recalled.
  • Before winter starts, carefully check that your electric blankets, hot water bottles and other winter items are in good condition and have not been recalled – and if the goods have been recalled return them to the store for refund or remedy.
  • Children’s clothing with a ‘low fire danger’ label is still flammable so always keep children away from open heat sources.

Further information is available at

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Alana Lowes

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