Parents are being warned about the dangers of using vaporisers around children.

Marlina Whop, a 7 News reporter, has warned parents that researchers say this very common home remedy for colds can do more harm than good.

Dr Sarah Lonie said a vaporiser can reach up to 100 degrees with the steam and boiling water at its hottest.

A large number of children, mainly toddlers, present to the children’s hospital with burns from a steam vaporiser with up to 80% presenting with burns to their hands. Especially boys. 50% needed surgery.

Parents need to remember…

  • Put the vaporiser in a high place
  • Put a barrier around it
  • And also follow instructions carefully

Researchers are calling on the public watchdog to ensure parents are reminded of the dangers, especially as the cooler weather approaches.

Please remember to always use precautions with children.

Response from vaporiser distributor

FGB Natural Products are distributors of Euky Bear and Vicks Warm Steam Vaporisers, two of the top-selling vaporiser brands in Australia.

Euky Bear has always recommended placing vaporisers on the floor due to the fact it’s a stable surface, children can’t pull the vaporiser down on top of themselves, and it also prevents possible water damage to furniture. Steam also rises so it makes sense to provide as much room for it to circulate as possible, rather than hitting the ceiling and possibly causing excess condensation.

They told Mouths of Mums that conservatively, they estimate more than a million vaporisers could be operating in homes in Australia every year.  According to Home Safe Kids, approximately 7,100 children are treated with burns in Australia every year.

In perspective, the research shows burns from vaporisers are approximately a 1 in 100,000 occurrences, and represent 0.005% of paediatric burns in Victoria. Hot water from kettles and cooking, along with bath water, are the most common causes of paediatric scalds in Australia.

FGB’s position is that while any heat source in the home should be treated with caution, vaporisers can be used with confidence when used with common sense as directed and with the appropriate levels of parental supervision, which is explained clearly on the packaging and in the instructions.

“Ultimately it is up to the parents to decide based on their circumstances and the age of their children, but we urge parents, as with any household device like kettles or stoves, to always supervise children around vaporisers.”

Share your comments below.

Image via Shutterstock

  • Basic common sense in this article. People shouldn’t need telling a vaporiser needs to be put out of reach of children


  • We don’t have a vaporiser for the very fact that there is usually boiling water in there. Not safe.


  • I have had different doctors telling me conflicting advice on the use of vapourisers. It helps, it doesnt help….. So we dont use them. Instead I use essential oils, diluted and rub it on their chest or feet when they are unwell.


  • Like any product – use it carefully and mindfully.


  • Gosh thats scary information.
    Ive never used one before but after reading that I guess its just one of those things that you can use one but do not leave the child alone in the room with it.


  • I use to use the vaporizers before coming across an even cheaper more effective remedy that i stand by and share every chance i get… it may seem strange but for coughs and runny noses… peel an onion, chop it in half and put it under the bed near the head or next to where you or the child sleeps… i have not touched a vaporizer in 3 years now… i had whooping cough and although this didnt stop the cough it gave me relief on a nightly basis for nearly 4 months… everytime my children start coughing in their sleep i do this and within minutes they stop and i dont here them again, the smell is not to pleasant the next morning but air the room out, it is a small price to pay for such a huge relief… my oldest is nearly 5 and has not needed any form of cough suppressant since i started doing this ;)

    • wow I have never heard of using an onion! My child has a cough and cold at the moment so I will try it tonight! Thanks.


  • Isn’t it basic common sense to put something like this out of reach of children? I am constantly amazed at people needing to be told yo do simple, basic stuff to keep their children safe :/


  • I learnt my lesson the hard way. I forgot to turn off the vaporiser & my son burnt the tip of his finger. Luckily it was only minor but now I always remember to turn it off.


  • That’s the thing about common sense…it’s not very common :(

    • Sometimes sadly this is true. People that sell products should show more care and concern.


  • Croup is different completely. Nothing really helps croup. My daughter had it and the freezing cold air helped her. But then she got it again and it didnt and she needed steroids.


  • What are the benefits of using a vaporiser?. With Croup does the moisture actually make any different to a child’s coughing?


  • I’ve never used a vaporiser, but this information is good to know.


  • This is a tricky one. I understand the manufacturers comments, but I’m not sure I’d take that risk with my kids.


  • i had one in my childrens bedroom for years, and they never touched it. i do however understand the risks and sometimes we do just need to be reminded of the dangers of using such things. thanks for sharing.


  • I never thought about possible burns!! I never had one vaporizer at home.


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