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Children’s Burns Trust fears cost of living crisis is driving increase in burns and scalds from hot water bottles





Experts fear a sharp rise in the number of children burnt by hot water bottles is being driven by the cost of living crisis as families adopt cheaper ways to keep warm.

Latest data confirms that burns and scalds to youngsters from hot water bottles increased by 45% in the first six months of 2023.

As energy costs rose last winter it is thought more parents used hot water bottles for their children. Image: iStock.
As energy costs rose last winter it is thought more parents used hot water bottles for their children. Image: iStock.

The figures from the International Burn Injury Database, which gathers information from NHS services, show reported hot water bottle injuries to adults, including the elderly, are also up 19% across the same period and when compared to the previous year.

The British Burn Association and Children’s Burns Trust has released the data as it warns households to consider the potential dangers of using them as a heat source as winter gets closer.

Both organisations believe the ongoing cost of living crisis, and the financial pressures households were under at the start of 2023 when energy costs were at record prices, has forced parents into alternative methods to avoid turning the heating on.

Parents are thought to be using hot water bottles to keep energy costs low. Image: iStock.
Parents are thought to be using hot water bottles to keep energy costs low. Image: iStock.

The charities also fear ongoing financial pressures will only see increasing numbers of parents, who are often unaware of the risks, turn to hot water bottles as the colder months set in.

Ken Dunn, a retired consultant burns and plastic surgeon and vice chair of The Children’s Burns Trust, explained: “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.”

Hot water bottles, warn the charity, can cause devastating life-altering injuries particularly if they’re not used properly.

Experts say hot water bottles shouldn’t be used if they’re more than two-years-old. Image: iStock.
Experts say hot water bottles shouldn’t be used if they’re more than two-years-old. Image: iStock.

Because rubber deteriorates over time, older hot water bottles can burst or be prone to leaking which could lead to a serious burn.

They should never, say experts, be filled with boiling water straight from the kettle or hot tap.

Any family tempted to use a bottle they already have at home should also check the rubber flower symbol found on the neck of the bottle which will show the month and year it was made.

Any bottle more than two-years-old, it insists, should be replaced.



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