'Mum I'm on fire': Tradie suffers 'horrific' burns from hot water bottle

·3-min read

A Melbourne tradie has had to undergo skin grafts after suffering severe burns from a hot water bottle.

Marie Machera’s 20-year-old son was playing Playstation at his home in Coburg last week when the bottle, seated in his lap, burst spilling hot water all over his legs, hands and chest, Nine News reported.

“He said, ‘I’m on fire, mum. I’m on fire,” Ms Machera told the network.

“His body went into shock and he was trembling. It was a horrific sight.”

The man was frantically rushed into a cold shower. His mum said he felt as if he was on fire the second he stepped out of the cool water.

A man, 20, lies in a hospital bed at The Alfred with burns to his chest, palms and thigh.
A man, 20, has had to undergo skin grafts after suffering burns from a hot water bottle. Source: Nine News

Paramedics arrived and treated him with morphine before transporting him to The Alfred Hospital.

He spent a week in the burns unit with second and third degree burns on his chest, thighs, neck, palms of his hands and neck. The man has since had to undergo skin grafts. He underwent surgery on Monday.

Alfred Hospital surgeon Dr Dane Holden said boiling water inside a hot water bottle can lead to the plastic deteriorating, causing them to “spontaneously rupture”.

Dr Holden said injuries like the man suffered are entirely avoidable.

A man, 20, gets treated for burns at a home in Coburg.
The man's mum said he felt like he was on fire. Source: Nine News

The do’s and don’ts of hot water bottles

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warns hot water bottles should always be used with a cover or towel wrapped around them and if used on a bed they should only be used to warm it and then removed.

It also advises to replace any broken hot water bottles and not to put them in ovens or microwaves.

About 100 Australians each year are hospitalised from serious burns associated with hot water bottle usage, according to the ACCC’s hot water bottle compliance report.

A man wearing a grey thermal top cuddling a green hot water bottle against his stomach and chest.
The ACCC warns you should never sleep with a hot water bottle. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

“Most victims of hot water bottle burns are elderly women and children,” the ACCC said.

“They are likely to suffer more serious burns as their skin is thinner and more delicate.”

There are also a number of compliance laws for hot water bottles in Australia.

The ACCC said all hot water bottles need a warning label telling the user not to fill them with boiling water and a warning about placing bottles directly on the skin.

Hot water bottles recalled

In September, the ACCC also issued a recall on a number of two-litre hot water bottles sold at Spotlight.

“Hot water may leak from the hot water bottle, increasing the risk of burns or serious injury,” the recall notice said.

“Consumers should immediately stop using the product and return it to Spotlight for a refund of the purchase price.”

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