This recommendation was adopted at the session on 30 January 2002 on the basis of a report by Mr. J.P Mambourg
Assisted by Catherine MOREAU, Philippe LITT and Jean-Louis VIGNAU, Technical Advisros to the French Consumer Safety Commission (C.S.C.), pursuant to article R.224-4 of French Consumer Law (Code de la Consommation).
The CSC recommends:
Generally speaking, the use of hot water bottles, whether containing heated water or heated in a microwave oven, involves a rare, but potential risk of burns if:
- the hot water bottle cover is too hot,
- it ruptures, releasing either very hot water or gel onto the user,
- the plug is not correctly tightened or is not watertight,
-the hot water bottle is applied suddenly to the skin, particularly of a child.
Contrary to practice in the United Kingdom, France does not have an official standard for “water-based” hot water bottles. Nor is there one for the “microwave” variety. Moreover, it has been observed that the safety instructions are not always properly complied with by users (this was the case with Petition n° 01-054 where heating time in the microwave oven exceeded that recommended in the instructions).
Lastly, the LNE survey brought to light the frequent absence of instructions for use on water-based hot water bottles.
In view of which, the Commission recommends that a standard be drafted and that greater efforts should be made to provide consumer information.
1. A standard for hot-water-based water bottles:
- such standardization should concern all hot water bottles, whether filled with hot water, a gel or any other substance. The standard would specify in particular the minimum compulsory requirements in terms of quality, thickness and strength of the envelope. These requirements must be verifiable under test conditions.
- with respect, more specifically, to water-based hot water bottles, standardization should also focus on the safety and reliability of the plug. Provision should also be made to inform consumers about the risks of allergies to latex.
- lastly, as regards “microwave” hot water bottles, the standard should require that the composition of the gel or any other product contained in them be specified.
This standard could be inspired by the existing British standard (BS 1970/2001).
2. Improved comprehensive information for users
Instructions for use must feature on the explanatory leaflet and on the hot water bottle itself, using pictogrammes, for example. Such instructions must systematically and clearly alert users to the risks of excessive heating. The attention of parents should also be drawn to the dangers.
Furthermore, the Commission advises against the use of microwave ovens for hot-water bottles containing cherry pits or similar products such as bags of wheat, etc. If this heating method were nevertheless to be used, it would be necessary to issue stronger warnings to users.
Lastly, the Commission will forward the dossier to the French food safety agency (Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments - AFSSA), to the French healthcare products safety agency (Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Produits de Santé - AFSSAPS) and to the French high council for public hygiene (Conseil Supérieur d’Hygiène Publique de France - CSHPF) insofar as these bodies may be called upon to address the issues dealt with in the present recommendation from their various angles.
For the complete text in English please open the attached file:
The recommendation can also be consulted in full in French on the CSC website: http://www.cscnet.org by using the key word ‘bouillotte’.