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Mum awarded £7,500 compensation after suffering major burns from pet’s heatpad

A mum, who suffered severe burns after her pet rabbit’s heatpad melted in the microwave, was awarded £7,500 in compensation for her injuries.

Our client, who wishes to only be known by her first name, Stacey, had bought a SnuggleSafe Microwave Wireless Heatpad to ensure her daughter’s pet rabbit stayed warm as the temperature began to drop in November 2017.

The product, which she bought via Amazon, is designed to be microwaved regularly and promises to offer pets warmth for up to 10 hours, being advertised as suitable for small animals including rabbits.

However, after using the pad for only the third time since purchasing, Stacey found the filling inside had melted and leaked out, causing it to damage her skin as she removed it from the microwave.

She underwent treatment for her burns at a specialist hospital but, three years later, Stacey is still suffering from the effects of the incident, unable to fully straighten her right hand and experiencing painful sensations.

The mum-of-one instructed our expert team to take action against the manufacturer and she was later awarded £7,500 in compensation.

Stacey said: “We’d never bought one of these heatpads before but I’d heard how they can help keep pet rabbits keep warm in the winter so thought I’d give it a go.

“I followed the instructions to the letter but when I picked it up out of the microwave, the boiling hot liquid inside seeped onto the palm of my hand – I hadn’t realised it had burst inside the microwave and the pain was horrific. I immediately ran it under a cold tap but it was obvious that I needed medical attention, so I went to my local A&E who then referred me to a specialist burns unit.”

Stacey had followed the manufacturer’s instructions, heating the pad for six minutes in line with her microwave wattage.

However, SnuggleSafe denied liability, arguing that the product was not faulty and that Stacey had overheated the pad. The company asked her to drop the case and accused her of ‘dishonesty’ but, confident she had used the product correctly, Stacey pursued her case which was settled out of court in September 2020.

Now, Stacey is keen to raise awareness of the potential dangers surrounding products like heatpads for pets.

She added: “The company tried to argue that I’d done something wrong and had left it in too long, causing the pad to burst – but I knew that just wasn’t the case. I now have lasting scars and I’m unable to straighten my hand without feeling pain. I also experience sensitivity when I come in to contact with certain surfaces, which is a constant reminder of the incident.

“It’s extremely worrying to think about how much worse it could’ve been if a child had lifted the product from the microwave and I’d urge pet owners to think twice before purchasing one of these heatpads.”

Nicholas Cowley, solicitor at Hampson Hughes Solicitors, said: “This was clearly a very traumatic experience for Stacey and one that could’ve been avoided had the product been suitable for use.

“The manufacturer continued to deny liability until the 11th hour, with a court trial scheduled to take place, but they agreed to settle out of court at the last minute. With the temperature beginning to fall and winter about to set in, a lot of pet owners will be considering buying a heatpad like the one that Stacey bought to keep their pets cosy.

“We’d advise people against buying but, if they need to, we’d urge them to check product reviews and do thorough research before making their purchase.”

“Stacey is unfortunately proof that these products are not always safe.”

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