21 April 2024

Get the most out of your hot water bottle – effectively and safely

Last week, one Hamilton women suffered second-degree burns on various parts of her body and went through “horrific pain” after a hot water bottle she was using burst.

Timely action on her part, prompt medical attention and follow up treatment saved her from more permanent damage. She has now decided to switch to a wheat bag as a ‘safer option’, she says.

A couple of days back, one of our work colleague escaped serious burn injuries when hot water spilled on her hand while pouring it into a hot water bottle. But her hand was saved from serious burns as, fortunately, water was not boiling hot.

There was another case in 2020 of a nine-year-old Cambridge girl who spent five nights in a hospital after being scalded when her hot water bottle leaked in bed.

Her mum Tracey shared her story to create awareness and prevent this happening to anyone else.

These are apparently such simple accidents, but the implications for the individual and family are huge.

ACC reportedly deals with hundreds of claims for hot water bottle-related burn  injuries every year, and the number continues to rise. 

When winters sets in, hot water bottles or the ‘hotties’ as some prefer to call, come out of storage to keep you warm in bed for a good night’s sleep, or snug on the couch while watching a rugby game.

Hotties are also commonly used to ease aching muscles of the aged or infirm; comfort or alleviating cramps caused by menstrual cycle. At times, children are also given these just to cuddle up in bed.

Follow basis safety measures to keep safe from burn injuries

People, however, forget any incorrect use or mishandling of hot water bottle, or using an unsafe bottle can result in serious burns. There is also a risk of hand burns when air is expelled while filling.

The hot water bottles are manufactured from rubber (latex) or thermoplastic, but rubber deteriorates over time.

The Australian & New Zealand Burn Association (ANZBA) reminds that “rubber hot water bottles perish, increasing the risk of leaks or splitting at the seams – especially if placed under pressure by a person lying on it in bed.”

The use of hot water bottle (and wheat bags) is “prohibited in hospitals and any requests for specific patient must be sanctioned by the Director of Nursing for the area.”

As these bottles are mostly used in beds or lying on a couch, therefore, legs, stomachs and thighs are usually the most affected burn areas due to splits or a leak.

These burn related injuries can be “deep, painful and may require long hospital treatment, including skin grafts, and often result in permanent scarring,” warns the ANZBA.

Hot water bottles that don’t meet the specified version of the British Standard are banned in New Zealand, and new ones should only have the Standard, BS 1970:2012.

In Oct 2021, Paramount Merchandise Company Limited (Paramount) was fined $104,000 for supplying banned hot water bottles and of making false and/or misleading representations that these complied with the standard when they did not.  Read More...

One comment:

  1. Informative & educative tips that we often ignore in our daily routine. And, I wasn’t aware nor ever noticed year of manufacture on bottle. Good to know

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