Stark warning for parents this winter

As winter approaches, a major warning has been issued over common household items used to keep children warm.

Parents preparing to keep their children warm this winter are being warned about popular household items.

Hot water bottles and heat packs are among the products labelled as hazardous by an ex-paramedic who runs the Tiny Hearts Education.

Nikki Jurcutz urged parents to use them with caution.

Hot water bottles can burst and cause burns, Ms Jurcutz warns.

In an Instagram warning to parents, she wrote: “Check the use-by date as expired hot water bottles can split and leak more easily. Throw (them) out at the first sign of wear and tear.

“Never use boiling water in them, only hot water. Put a layer between the hot water bottle and the skin. Move the hot water bottle around every 20 minutes to prevent gradual burns in one area.”

Heat packs also present a risk to sensitive skin and shouldn’t be used on young children, the Tiny Hearts chief added.

“There is a risk of burns to sensitive skin when using heat packs, so they shouldn’t be used on little ones,” she said.

“It’s also not recommended to use wheat packs in beds because the bedding can trap the heat, causing the pack to catch fire.”

Ms Jurcutz said electric blankets can also be dangerous, particularly when they aren’t switched off before sleep.

Better options for parents include layering children with extra bedtime clothing or a sleeping bag, drying their hair in advance and even offering cuddles, she suggested.

While Ms Jurcutz is an advocate for thick puffer vests in the depths of winter, she’s also warned they can be dangerous for kids to wear while travelling in the car.

“Thick jackets often trap air amongst the layers and feathers inside the jacket, so in an accident, the jacket compresses, creating excessive space between the bub and the car seat straps,” she explained.

“This excessive space means they may not be held securely in the car seat which increases the risk of injury in a crash.”

Ms Jurcutz says pre-warming the car and adding blankets to the seats are safer alternatives.

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