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Hot Water Bottle Bursts - Half Of All Scalding Injuries

Hot water bottle
11th June 2015

Personal injury compensation has been awarded to a woman whose arm and elbow has been left with long term scarring after her hot water bottle burst unexpectedly. The retailer who had sold her the hot water bottle admitted liability for the faulty product and agreed to pay compensation for her injuries.

The case follows further recent incidents involving the sudden rupture of a hot water bottle. A woman in her early sixties needed a skin graft when her chest and arm were severely scalded. In October 2014, a 96 year old woman was left with burns and blisters on her body after a hot water bottle burst in her bed. The burns on her back and buttock became infected, and following a kidney complaint, later died.

The number of people needing hospital treatment for hot water bottle burns has risen in recent years, believed to be caused by the increasing number of cheap imported hot water bottles made of easily perishable rubber.

While the NHS does not compile figures on the numbers of patients specifically needing treatment for hot water bottle burns, in one year alone more than 1,800 people were admitted to a NHS hospital following injuries caused by hot water or other hot fluids, including hot water bottles.

Abdomen and lower limbs

Recent medical research, which analysed patients with burns resulting from hot water bottle use over an eight year period found that exactly half of all injuries were the result of a hot water bottle spontaneously bursting open. 

The research also showed that eight in ten injuries occurred, not unexpectedly, during the autumn / winter season, between October and February. The majority of the burns were most frequently scalding injuries to the abdomen and lower limbs, which took on average, nearly four weeks to heal.

Before purchase, a product should be checked to see if it has the British Standards Institute (BSI) kitemark to indicate that the product has been independently tested by the BSI and conforms to the relevant safety standards. Some categories of product sold in Europe also require a CE mark to indicate manufacturer compliance with EU health and safety standards.