It’s beginning to get chilly and we’re probably all starting to think about doing the big seasonal swap over – put the fans away and dust off the heaters and heavy dooners.

We know that heaters are generally safe if used correctly but one mum was left traumatised after an inadvertent heater accident caused a massive explosion in her house, leading to a deep cut on her young daughter’s head, so serious that she had to be airlifted to the nearest hospital.

The brave mum has reached out to us and shared her story and hopes to warn other parents of heater safety and the harsh consequences if something goes wrong.

The Heat Got Too Much!

“A few days ago at around 11:30am I lit my combustion heater for the first time since last winter! I was so excited to finally feel the warmth (I was so excited to dry my washing),” Karissa, the Aussie mum of three, told us.

“I thought I’ll quickly get some cleaning up done. I cleaned the bathroom and went outside for five minutes. As I was coming back inside I heard a loud bang. It sounded like a gun had just gone off and I heard screaming.”

A Hole In The Wall And Cut In Her Skull

“I raced into the lounge room and all I could see was my daughter Sydney (10 years) sitting on the couch with blood running down her neck and a large hole in my wall that I could see straight outside. Sydney was screaming: “my heads bleeding!”

“My younger daughter Patence, 9, was also screaming and my 13-year-old son Dom raced out of his room. I couldn’t work out what happened. Did my fire explode? Did a gun get shot outside and blow a hole through the wall? Meanwhile, I was standing above Sydney with my hand compressed on her head with Dom and Patence crying hysterically.”

heater accident wall

I Tried To Stay Calm Amidst The Hysteria

“I asked Dom to call 000 and asked Patence to stop crying and get me a towel. After I had the towel, I told Patence to get my phone and ring dad. My husband arrived as the ambulance arrived.”

The Danger Of Aerosol Cans And Heat

Karissa eventually worked out that one of the kids had grabbed the fly spray can to zap an insect and had innocently placed it on top of the heater not realising the imminent danger.

“I didn’t see it when I lit the fire and it exploded,” Karissa explained.

the fly spray

It Could Have Been Worse!

“The aerosol shot the approximately 4 metres across my lounge room to the couch where it collided with Sydney’s head then blew a hole in the wall! Sydney was watching her iPad at the time and if she hadn’t been, she would have been hit directly in the face.”

The mum said that the injury had left the young girl with a huge laceration around 10cm by 5cm on her scalp where the skin needed to be reattached.

heater accident head

Airlifted To The Hospital

“The ambulance took us to the local hospital, and from there we were put in an ambulance and flown to the nearest children’s hospital by the Royal Flying Doctor Service. We then waited for plastic surgeons to come and sew her scalp back on as it was sliced down to her skull.”

Happy End

Karissa has reported back that Sydney is doing well after her traumatic ordeal. She is back home and has dodged any permanent damage.

Sydney’s head is starting to heal


“This is just a reminder that as you light your fires or turn on your heaters this winter be absolutely sure you check the area first. I would never wish something like this to happen to anyone else.”

Do you use heating at home? What kind of heating do you use? Tell us in the comments below.

  • That is very scary, we have in floor gas heating, buy only use when it gets really cold, otherwise blankets and oodies keep is warm


  • My goodness how scary and traumatic for the family. Glad she is ok


  • Thank you for your thoughts. Honestly if we can save one person from this pain, trauma and weeks of recovery… my aim was completed. It’s been a short couple of weeks but so long at the same time. Sydney is on the mend and healing wonderfully. The plastic surgeons reviewed on Thursday and they are overall happy.

    • Thanks for the update mom476883 ! Glad that Sydney is recovering well !!


  • Terrible thing to have happened. Thanks for the warning which is just in time for this winter.


  • When on the farm, we had a fire place, loved watching the flames, and the lovely warmth. Thankfully we never had any mishaps. Would have been very scary for what happened to Sydney.


  • Oh wow! Took me ages to figure out the danger. We’ve had a wood heater for 30+ years, 2 kids, umpteen nieces and nephews, and never had thus happen.


  • I have ducted gas heating.
    That would have been such a scary incident for that family.


  • Scary, and can see how easy this could occur. Good reminder of household dangers.


  • I’m glad our house has a reverse cycle air con that we use for heating!


  • Oh my gosh how frightening!!! So lucky there was no permanent damage


  • Oh no this is so very very scary. A worst nightmare.


  • wow…..good lord. They were so very lucky. As bad as this was it very easily could have been so much worse.


  • Very scary but sharing this story will make a difference.


  • Oh my goodness! Never known this to happen. Hope she is on the mend.


  • I’m so glad Sydney is okay but it would have been so traumatising for them all. I have a split system air conditioner and I’m so glad I do.


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