What you need to know
The import and sale of hot water bottles that don't meet the specified standard were banned following incidents where hot water bottles split, perished or leaked, and in some cases caused serious burns.
New hot water bottles are subject to an unsafe goods notice, which bans the import and sale of hot water bottles that don't meet the British Standard (BS 1970:2012).
What you need to do
Check the safety standard stamp
Check the safety standard on your rubber or PVC hot water bottle. This should be permanently marked on the bottle — usually stamped on the bottle neck. The accepted versions of the standard are British Standard:
- BS 1970:2012
- BS 1970:2006
- BS 1970:2001.
All new hot water bottles available for sale should only have BS 1970:2012 marked on the neck.
If you're unsure whether the standard listed on the bottle is genuine, either:
- dispose of the hot water bottle, or
- report it to the Commerce Commission New Zealand.
Using a hot water bottle safely
- Always be careful when filling and using hot water bottles.
- Use a cover or wrap the bottle in a towel before using — this will help prevent burns.
- Check hot water bottles regularly for any splits or perishing — if the bottle is split or perished replace it with a new one.
- Make sure the top is firmly closed before using.
- For children and the elderly, use the bottle to warm the bed, then remove before the person gets into bed.
- Never use boiling water to fill your hot water bottle as this can cause the bottle to split or leak. Very hot water is fine to use.
- Don't lie or sit on the hot water bottle.
- Don't overfill.
- Don't use a hot water bottle that's showing signs of wear or splitting — replace it with a new one.
If you have a safety problem or concern
If you have some concerns about the safety of a product or if you’re injured by a product, you should tell the retailer or supplier about it.
You also have the right to ask for a remedy such as a refund, replacement, or repair under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). One of the guarantees in the CGA is that products must be of acceptable quality, and this includes that the product is safe.
In addition, it’s good to report the details to us – product safety reports from the public help government agencies to identify systemic issues and help us to prioritise and respond to issues.