Hot water bottles can expire and split - Martin Lewis explains how you can check if yours is safe

Finance guru Martin Lewis has sent out some top tips on hot water bottle safety

Joe Middleton
Wednesday 15 November 2023 10:12 GMT
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The nights are getting colder and before you think about turning the heating on millions of Britons will first be grabbing a comforting hot water bottle to warm their bed up.

Finance guru Martin Lewis has sent out some top tips in a newsletter to ensure that you are getting the best out of your hot water bottle and are using it safely.

Firstly make sure that you are replacing your hot water bottle every two to three years. They are often made out of rubber and so will expire over time.

An Australian study on water bottles and safety indicated that over 80 per cent of hospital admissions were because the bottle had split or become perforated.

You can check how old your water bottle is by looking at the “flower wheel”, which is a small circular imprint showing you what year it was made.


It should indicate what year the water bottle was manufactured and the distinctive dots in the wheel will show you what month it was made.

Now that you ensured your water bottle is safe its time to look at how to use it correctly. Ensure that when you fill it you use a mix of hot and cold water until about two-thirds full - do not just pour in boiling water.

Once you’ve filled the water bottle with a mixture of the hot and cold water use the stopper at the top to secure it and then double check the bottle is not leaking or has any cracks or splits.

When using the hot water bottle do you not put it in direct contact with your skin - always have a barrier such as a towel, blanket or thick clothing to ensure there is a barrier.

In addition try not to put pressure on the water bottle by sitting or putting your body weight on it. They are not designed to be squashed and you should also not sleep with the water bottle after it has done its job of warming up your bed.

Finally, after your water bottle has been used, make sure to hang it upside down and let it dry before storing it in a cool, dry place.

Data from the International Burn Injury Database (iBID), covering England and Wales, shows there were 99 burn injuries from hot water bottles treated in major burns departments in the first six months of 2023, up from 68 in the same period in 2022.

Burns and scalds to adults and the elderly from hot water bottles also rose by about a fifth.

The data does not include more minor burns and scalds that are treated in A&E departments – meaning the figures reflect the most serous incidents.

Ken Dunn, retired consultant and plastic surgeon, and vice chairman of the Children’s Burns Trust, which released the figures with the British Burn Association, said: “The significant increase we have seen of injuries from hot water bottles to children is alarming and as the colder months of the year approach – coupled with the ongoing cost of living – we’re urging families to avoid using hot water bottles for children.

“If you do use them at all in the home, you should remember two key pieces of information about how to use them safely – never fill them with boiling water and always check the rubber flower symbol found on the neck which shows which month and year the hot water bottle was made.

“Any bottle older than two years old should be replaced.

“By raising awareness of the risk posed by hot water bottles and educating people on the safest way to use them – as well as the correct first aid should an injury occur – we can help to reduce the number and resultant scarring of these devastating injuries.”

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