- Hot water bottles caused 99 serious burns in England and Wales in 2023
- The figure is 46 percent more than the 68 recorded during the same period in 2022.
Parents have been urged not to give hot water bottles to children after an “alarming” rise in the number of people suffering serious burns.
Hot water bottles caused 99 serious burns in England and Wales in the first six months of 2023, up 46 percent from 68 in the same period in 2022.
The data does not include minor burns and scalds treated in emergency departments, meaning the figures reflect more serious incidents.
Experts blamed the cost of living crisis for driving the rise in injuries, suggesting Brits are using hot water bottles as an alternative to central heating.
A father has urged parents to make burn injuries “for life” after his 12-year-old son suffered life-threatening complications when a hot water bottle burst in his lap.
Burns among adults and the elderly caused by hot water bottles increased by about a fifth, according to data from the International Burn Injury Database (iBID).
Hot water bottles caused 99 serious burns in England and Wales in the first six months of 2023, up 46 percent from 68 during the same period in 2022.
Ken Dunn, a retired consultant and plastic surgeon and vice-chairman of the Children’s Burns Trust, which published the figures alongside the British Burns Association, said the rise in burns caused by hot water bottles among children is “alarming”.
He said: ‘As the coldest months of the year approach, coupled with the current cost of living, we urge families to avoid using hot water bottles for children.
“If you use them at home, you should remember two key facts about how to use them safely: never fill them with boiling water and always check the rubber flower symbol on the neck that shows what month and year it was made. the hot water bottle.
‘Any bottle that is more than two years old should be replaced.
How to safely use a hot water bottle
Experts have urged parents not to give hot water bottles to their children after a rise in burn injuries.
The NHS has provided advice for safely using the heating alternative.
- Fill the bottle with hot, but not boiling, water.
- Make sure the stopper is screwed tightly
- Fill the bottle up to a maximum of three-quarters full.
- Wrap the bottle in a towel to avoid direct contact.
- Avoid taking the bottle to bed
- Frequently examine the bottle for signs of wear.
- Make sure it has been tested to BS1970:2006 standards.
- Expel all air above the water level before sealing carefully to avoid injury from escaping hot steam.
- Replace the bottle after two years.
- Special care should be taken when used by people with sensory deficits, the elderly and children.
‘By raising awareness about the risk hot water bottles pose and educating people about the safest way to use them, as well as correct first aid should an injury occur, we can help reduce the number and scarring resulting from these devastating injuries. ‘
One parent, Pete, told how his son Freddie, now 12, suffered burns to his thighs, abdomen and hands when a hot water bottle opened in his lap.
“The impact of a burn cannot be underestimated and I want parents to know the damage hot water can cause – a burn is for life,” she said.
In December 2021, Freddie, then 10 years old, was in the back of the car going to watch his sister play soccer.
It was a cold morning and he had a hot water bottle to keep warm, partially filled with cold water.
Minutes later the bottle broke. His parents rushed him home and put him in a cold bath because he couldn’t tolerate the pain of the shower because of his burns.
Freddie was taken to the main trauma center in Southampton and once stabilized he was transferred to the specialist burns service in Salisbury.
Two weeks after the injury, Freddie felt unwell with a high temperature and his parents were told his burn was life-threatening and he needed skin grafts.
His father said: ‘It was very difficult watching Freddie go through the treatment he needed; surgery, dressing changes, a urinary catheter, and a feeding tube in your nose to increase your calorie intake.
“I want to emphasize the dangers of using hot water bottles and raise awareness about how serious a burn caused by a hot water bottle can be.”