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Hot water bottles  

If used incorrectly, hot water bottles can be very dangerous, even resulting in severe burns requiring treatment in hospital.

Burns can occur when the hot water bottle leaks boiling water, when the bottle is in direct contact with the body, when air is expelled from the bottle, or when it is being filled. Extreme caution needs to be used when using hot water bottles around children and elderly people.

Safety tips

To use a hot water bottle safely, follow these simple rules:

  • Never fill your hot water bottle with boiling water, leave the water to cool a little before using. If the water is too hot for you to touch then it is too hot for the bottle.
  • Do not fill hot water bottles to the top. Pour water into the bottle until it is two-thirds full.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when filling the bottle.
  • Avoid lying or sitting on a hot water bottle as the pressure may cause it to leak or split. 
  • Wrap the hot water bottle in a towel before using it.
  • Use the bottle to warm your bed and remove it before you go to bed. 
  • Never leave a hot water bottle in a cot with a child. 
  • Discard any hot water bottles that show signs of wear or ageing. Ideally you should discard your hot water bottle at the end of every winter season and buy a new one.
  • When choosing a new hot water bottle, only buy one that is well made, especially around the seams, with a properly fitting plug and a large opening so it can be easily filled without injury. 
  • Only buy a hot water bottle that is clearly labelled: 
    ‘WARNING – Hot water bottles can cause burns. Avoid prolonged direct contact with the skin.’ 
    This labelling is compulsory by law for all hot water bottle suppliers.

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