Irons

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What is an iron?

An iron is an object with a flat metal base that is heated and used to make clothes smooth.  Steam irons are the most popular type of irons used in the home and usually have a cord attached, however, there are cordless models available in the market as well.

It can take up to 90 minutes before the temperature of an iron cools to a safe temperature that will not cause a burn. 1

Iron safety among children

How may a child be injured?

Burns

  • Children may sustain burns to their body either from touching a hot iron, or from one that has fallen on them, as a result of pulling on the cord. Contact burns sustained from irons can be so severe that children may require skin grafts and ongoing medical treatment.

Electrocution

  • Children may be electrocuted while playing with dangling iron cords which are frayed, or by touching an active iron with wet hands. Iron cords that are placed in the mouth and bitten on may also cause electrocution in children.

Struck by object

  • Children may be struck by a hot iron if they pull on dangling iron cords.
  • Children who are sitting or playing near ironing boards may be struck by an ironing board that tips over.

How common are these injuries?

Between 2005 and 2009, 154 children aged 0-4 years were treated at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead as a result of an iron burn. Research has shown the majority (72%) of iron burns occurred when adult supervision was present.2

Is there a Law or an Australian Standard for irons?

The law, in NSW, states that all irons sold must meet the requirements of the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 (NSW) and its Regulations. Irons are considered declared articles, which must be tested and approved before they can be sold.

The easiest way to determine if an iron is approved is to see if it displays an acceptable approval mark, as shown below.

Type of approval marks

Example

NSW Fair Trading
NSW xxxxx on articles approved after 24 February 2005.
N xxxxx on articles approved before 24 February 2005.
Other State Government agencies
Q xxxxx,  ESO xxxxx,
V xxxxx, ESV xxxxx,
S xxxxx, T xxxxx
Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM)
SAI Global Certification Services Pty Ltd
(ACN 108 716 669)
SAI TE EA xxxxxxx    or
SAI SMK EA xxxxxx   or
SAI-xxxxxx-EA
The Australian Gas Association (AGA)
(ACN 004 206 044)
AGA xxxxxx EA   or
AGA xxxxxx G EA
International Testing and Certification Services Pty Ltd
A/xxxxxx/EA
SGS Systems and Services Certification Pty Ltd
(ACN 060 156 014)
SGSEA xxxxxx   or
SGS-xxxxxx-EA
SAA Approvals Pty Ltd
(ACN 125 451 327)
SAA xxxxxx EA
Testing and Certification Australia
TCA xxxxxx EA
UL International New Zealand Limited
(NZ Incorporation Number 1983441)
U xxxxxx EA
TUV Rheinland Australia Pty Ltd
(ACN 124 175 953)
TUV xxxxxx EA
BSI Group (Australia and New Zealand) Pty Ltd
BSI-xxxxxx-EA
Global Mark Pty Ltd
GMA-xxxxxx-EA
Market Access (AUS) Pty Ltd trading as Certification Body Australia
CBA xxxxxx   or
CBA-xxxxxx-EA
Australian Safety Approval
ASA-xxxxxx-EA

Remember:

  • Purchase an iron that meets the requirements of the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 (NSW) and its Regulations. Only use irons which display acceptable approval marks.
  • Avoid ironing when small children are present. Iron while children are asleep or place them in a playpen while you iron.
  • Ironing boards are unstable structures. Children who are sitting or playing nearby may be struck by ironing boards that fall over.
  • Ensure that the iron is not plugged into the power supply while pouring water into the appliance.
  • Do not leave irons unattended.
  • Use the stand provided for the iron. Irons that are left face-down on the ironing board may start a fire.
  • After use, place hot irons out of reach of children to avoid burn injuries. Ensure that the attached cords are also out of reach of children’s hands.
  • Immediately after use, fold ironing boards up and store them properly in a secure place.
  • Check for products that have been recalled (www.recalls.gov.au) prior to buying or borrowing an iron for use at home.

References

1 Beers, R., Anthamatten, M., Reid, D., Kahn, S, and Lentz, C. (2009). Development of a Clothing Iron Safety Device. Journal of Burn Care and Research, 30 (1), 70-76.

2 Simons, M., Brady, D., McGrady, M., Plaza, A, and Kimble, R. (2002). Hot Iron Burns in Children. Elsevier Science, 587-590.