Aussie woman's warning after household item causes severe burns

A 26-year-old Australian woman has issued a warning to others trying to keep warm this winter after a household item left her with severe burns.

Rhiannon Coleman-Heard, from Tasmania, was filling up her hot water bottle with boiling water when it spilled all over one of her arms.

She says she hopes others will avoid making the same mistake as cold fronts continue to sweep the country.

A nurse tending to Rhiannon Coleman-Heard's burns.
Rhiannon Coleman-Heard suffered severe burns while filling up her hot water bottle. Source: 7 News

“When I came into the emergency department, [my arm] was just completely blistered,” Ms Coleman-Heard told 7 News.

“Then they had to deroof it, so taking off all the skin.”

The 26-year-old said she had never experienced such a severe injury and now has to visit the doctor every week to make sure it’s healing well.

“I also didn’t think boiling water or water from a hot water bottle could cause such damage,” she said.

Jenny Branch-Allen, with KidSafe Tasmania, told the publication that despite people’s skepticism, there has been an increase in hospital admissions for burns involving basic household items across the country.

Woman holding orange hot water bottle on stomach. Source: Getty
Aussies are being encouraged to avoid filling hot water bottles with boiling water. Source: Getty

For National Burns Awareness Month this June, KidSafe is working to create more awareness about preventing burns and how to correctly treat them.

There is a significantly increased risk of burns in the winter months, the organisation says.

Every year, 200 Aussies are treated for serious burns stemming from hot water bottle use, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

ACCC’s tips to avoid hot water bottle burns:

  • Don’t overfill the hot water bottle

  • Don’t use boiling water — hot tap water is fine

  • Avoid direct contact with your skin — use a cover or wrap the bottle

  • Never leave it on one body part for more than 20 minutes

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