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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Handwarmer 'blows up' in youngster's face

Freya Mansfield, left, with handwarmers that burst in her face with her grandmother Lorraine Shasby and Caitlin Shasby

Blogger's Comment: If your hands are cold, please read this article prior to using a chemical hand warmer pouch. Plus, make sure all children are supervised when using any heated device. For NON chemical or electical hand warmers, please CLICK HERE.

by Rhiannon McDowall

A FOUR-year-old diabetic was rushed to hospital at the weekend after a chemical hand warmer "exploded" in her face.

Little Freya Mansfield, of Hilton Close, Weston, was using the pocket sized device – which has now been pulled from all Ethel Austin stores – when it burst, splattering hot liquid into her left eye, it was claimed. Luckily, Freya’s quick-thinking grandmother, Lorraine Shasby, of Earlsway, held a damp tea towel to the tot’s eyes, before easing the pain with eye drops and rushing her to hospital.

She said: "She was screaming in pain. She was getting ready for my other daughter to take her to Sunday School and the next minute it had just exploded all over her. "It was in her hair, her clothes, there are still some spots on the ceiling – you wouldn’t think there was so much stuff in it." Lorraine, 41, added: "Thank god it wasn’t toxic – she could have been blinded."

Freya added: "It was hot and blew up in my face. I won’t use them again." Lorraine had bought the heart shaped hand warmers – gel packages which heat up when flexed – from Ethel Austin in Congleton as a treat for Freya, whose diabetes causes poor circulation in her hands and feet.

She said: "She goes through enough with her diabetes, with three injections a day, and she was in hospital last week with a stomach bug, now she’s on antibiotics for her eyes. I just feel so sorry for her." Freya’s mum, Natalie Trevena, said: "When my mum phoned me I thought ‘not again’ – she’d been in hospital not long before with her diabetes. But she’s better now."

An Ethel Austin spokesman said the product was from an external supplier they would not name, and added: "We are concerned to learn of this incident. All products sold in Ethel Austin stores are subject to a rigorous safety code. "The Heart Hand Warmers have been removed from the shelves at all stores while an investigation into the product’s source and content is carried out."

Paul Barrow, a team manager at Cheshire County Council’s Trading Standards, said: "As far as we’re aware there haven‘t been any other incidents in the country. "We are now investigating why this happened. It could have been a fault or a one off, we just don’t know."

For more information on Cold Hands & Ways to Keep them Warm, CLICK HERE.

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At November 6, 2008 at 12:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! those heart hand warmer packs are sold online at I bought some of them last year. I hope this little girl is ok.

At December 27, 2008 at 9:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dangerous product. It should be removed from the market by the USA Government.

At January 4, 2009 at 9:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought the safe hand warmer at


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