An iron is an electrical appliance with a flat metal plate that is heated and used to smooth wrinkles out of clothes. Steam irons are the most common type of irons used in the home and usually have an attached power cord; however cordless models are also available.
After use, it can take up to 90 minutes before an iron cools to a temperature that will not cause a burn.
Burns, electrocution and being struck by an object are the most frequent types of injuries children sustain from irons.
Children can sustain burns by:
Contact burns sustained from irons can be so severe that children may need skin grafts and ongoing medical treatment.
Children could be electrocuted by irons if they:
Children can be struck by a falling iron if:
Between January 2014 and December 2018, 129 children aged less than 5 years were treated in NSW hospitals for a burn from an iron. The majority of these occurred while or just after an adult had been using the iron.
In NSW, the Gas and Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2017 and the Gas and Electricity (Consumer Safety) Regulations (2018) require that electrical products and installations be safe and certain products (declared articles) 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 on the NSW Fair Trading website
More information about Gas and Electrical laws in NSW can be found at NSW Fair Trading
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
NSW Statewide Burn Injury Service. Unpublished data, August 2019.