Stoves, ovens and microwave ovens

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What are stoves, ovens and microwave ovens?

Stoves and ovens refer to pieces of equipment in the kitchen which produce heat for cooking purposes through gas or an electrical element.

Microwave ovens also produce heat for cooking purposes, and heat food with microwave energy being absorbed by water molecules in the food.1

Stoves and ovens child safety from burns

How may a child be injured?

Burns

  • Children can get burnt when they have access to the kitchen while others are cooking.
  • Young children can be burnt when they pull saucepans down and spill the hot food or drink over themselves.
  • Young children can be burnt when they pull food or liquid out of the microwave and spill the hot contents over themselves.
  • Young children can be burnt when they touch stove hot plates or hot oven doors.
  • Some upright stoves are unstable and if not fixed properly to the wall, may tip over when a child stands on the door. This can then spill the hot food or liquid onto the child.
  • Microwave ovens heat food to a very high temperature and often food is heated unevenly, which may cause burns to young children when being fed.
  • When removing food from a microwave, the steam from heated food and liquid can burn when it escapes.

How common are these injuries?

Young children have the highest rate of hospitalisation for burns in NSW, followed by elderly people and young males. From 2005 to 2013, there were 5,448 (72.7%) burns among children aged 0-4 years in NSW.1 A large majority of burns in this age group occurred in the kitchen (57%). Of all burns in this age group, 635 (12%) occurred as a result of children touching a stove/oven door, hotplate or from water from a saucepan.

Is there a Law or an Australian Standard for stoves, ovens and microwave ovens?

According to the NSW Office of Fair Trading all electrical appliances and equipment sold in NSW must meet the requirements of the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 (NSW) and its Regulations. This legislation covers the distribution of safe electrical appliances and other electrical goods. Microwave ovens and ranges (stoves, ovens) are included in this.

The NSW Office of Fair Trading provides the following examples of acceptable electrical safety approval marks in NSW.

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)
Regulatory Compliance Mark for electrical safety
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:

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking and supervise children at all times.

Stoves and ovens

  • Use a barrier, such as a safety gate, to keep young children out of the kitchen when cooking. Use the back stovetop burners rather than the front ones so young children can’t reach them.
  • Always turn saucepan handles so they are out of reach of young children.
  • Use a barrier such as a stove guard to stop children reaching pans and hotplates.
  • Install an oven door guard to stop children from touching hot oven doors.
  • Make sure that upright stoves are stable and fixed properly to the wall.

Microwaves

  • After heating food in the microwave, open lids or plastic wrap so the steam rises away from you.
  • Carefully stir food after it has been in the microwave to make sure it is heated evenly.
  • It is possible to super-heat some liquids or foods beyond their natural boiling point. If this happens, the super-heated liquids may boil suddenly or even explode when jolted or stirred after removal from the oven. To avoid this, cover the food or liquid or allow it to cool before removing from the microwave. Don't heat water in the microwave for too long. Don’t put your face or body over the container and keep the container at a safe distance when you add things to it for the first time such as a teabag.
  • Don’t use plastic containers or films in a microwave oven unless they are specifically designed for such use.
  • Test the temperature of the food that has been heated in a microwave to make sure it is safe to serve.
  • Do not heat baby bottles in the microwave.

First aid for burns

  • Use cool running water on a burn for 20 minutes.

  • This will stop the burning process and cool the burn. Cool running water can be useful within three hours of a burn.

  • Call 000 or seek medical help if you are unsure.

  • Never use ice, iced water, cream, toothpaste or butter on a burn as they can make the burn worse.

  • Burn creams do not cool the burn and must not be used instead of cool running water.

References

1 Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (2015) Microwave Ovens and Health factsheet. Available from: http://www.arpansa.gov.au/radiationprotection/factsheets/is_microwave.cfm