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Safety Alert Over Hot Water Bottles

Ribble Valley Borough Council senior environmental health officer Eamonn Roberts.
Ribble Valley Borough Council senior environmental health officer Eamonn Roberts.
Published Friday, 21 November 2014

The days of using hot coals to heat beds might be long gone, but hot water bottles can be just as dangerous.

Ribble Valley Borough Council is warning residents, particularly the elderly, who use hot water bottles to make sure they are fit for purpose and used safely.

Eamonn Roberts, the council’s senior environmental health officer, said: “Rising numbers of elderly people are suffering burns from hot water bottles that are not used properly. The burns can be so serious that skin grafts are needed.

“We are asking residents to make sure their hot water bottle is manufactured to the correct standard and not fill it with boiling hot water straight from the kettle, which can weaken the rubber making it more likely to burst.

“It is also important to expel air from the bottle, before putting the stopper in.

“It is advisable to replace hot water bottles regularly and look for signs of damage to the bottle or stopper, such as splits or holes, before use.

“Using a bottle cover will also protect against burns by preventing direct contact with the skin.”

Bed warmers have been common since the 16th Century, the earliest containing hot coals. Rubber hot water bottles were invented in 1903 and have been popular ever since.

When buying hot water bottles, make sure they have a BS (British Standard) number.

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