Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is urging consumers to check the safety of their electric blankets, following a series of voluntary recalls in recent months.
“NSW Fire and Rescue report an average of 20 incidents involving electric blankets each year,” he said.
“Winter by nature is the most dangerous time of the year for home fires from any cause and as people start to use electric blankets the number of fires each month increases.
“Check you electric blanket before using it for the first time this winter. Electric blankets are declared articles, so they need to be compliant and approved for sale.
“However, an approved and compliant blanket may still have durability issues.”
There are a number of electric blankets currently under recall:
• ALDI—Lumina Electric Blanket
• BIG W (Woolworths Limited)—Abode Electric Blanket
• Sunbeam Corporation Limited—Heritage & Regency Electric Blanket
• BIG W—Living Essentials Electric Blanket
• Kmart—Homemaker Electric Blanket
• Gerard Sourcing & Manufacturing—LINDA Electric Blanket
More than 400,000 unsafe electric blankets have been recalled since 2010, many due to the risk of fire hazards or electrocution.
However, Mr Stowe said it was disturbing only 10 per cent of these recalled products have been returned by consumers for a refund.
“Anyone who has bought an electric blanket since 2010 should go to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website www.recalls.gov.au and check whether their product is affected by a recall,” he said.
“Consumers should check their electric blanket’s batch code, model and approval number, which are on a label sewn in to the blanket.
“If you find you have one of the blankets affected by the recall, cease using it immediately and return it to the place of purchase for a refund.”
Mr Stowe offered the following safety advice for consumers using electric blankets:
Always check your electric blankets before using them every season. Most accidents are caused by misuse or by blankets which are worn and old and have not been checked regularly.
• Check all cords to ensure they are not frayed or damaged.
• If you suspect a problem, turn it off and have the blanket checked by an authorised repairer.
• Always switch off your blanket before going to bed or leaving the house.
• Never place too much bedding on the blanket and leave for a long time as this may cause it to overheat.
• Never fold up an electric blanket into your sofa bed even while off.
• Don’t wash an electric blanket unless the manufacturer recommends it.
• Be careful with pointed or sharp objects that could damage the heating element.
• During storage, fold the blanket neatly but not tightly.
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