Burns and scalds to children from hot water bottles have increased by 45%

Experts have warned families against giving hot water bottles to children after a rise in the number treated for serious burns.

According to the Children’s Burn Trust, burns to children from hot water bottles have increased by 45%. Insights released on National Burn Awareness last year show an alarming increase in the number of life-altering burn and scald injuries to babies and children involving hot water bottles. The data does not include more minor burns and scalds that are treated in A&E departments – meaning the figures reflect the most serious incidents.

Hot water bottle burns among adults and the elderly have also risen by about a fifth, according to data from the International Burn Injury Database.

Why the increase in burns?

Experts are warning that the ongoing cost of living crisis, and the financial pressures that households have been under, could be fuelling a rise in hot water bottle injuries.

Do hot water bottles expire?

Yes, they do. According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust, rubber deteriorates over time so old hot water bottles can break and cause serious burns. It is therefore advised to regularly check for signs of wear and tear and not use hot water bottles that are more than two years old.

This flower symbol, found on hot water bottles, indicates exactly when it was made. The number in the middle is the year it was made; the flower segments represent the 12 months of the year and the dots inside those represent the number of weeks.

How to fill your hot water bottle safely

  • Bottles should only be filled by adults.
  • The bottle should be held upright by the neck.
  • Use cooled boiled water from the kettle to fill the bottle. Let the boiled water cool for about 5 mins before filling the bottle.
  • Fill to a maximum of two thirds full.
  • Carefully let out the air from the bottle, holding the neck away from you as you do it, before putting the stopper on.
  • Make sure the stopper is screwed on tightly. (Children’s Burn Trust)

In addition the Lullaby Trust advises never putting a hot water bottle in your baby’s sleep space as they can overheat.

What to do in an emergency


  • COOL the burn for 20 minutes under cool running water.
  • CALL for help
  • COVER the burn loosely with cling film (Child Accident Prevention Trust)