Parents have been warned against giving hot water bottles to children after a rise in the number being treated for serious burns.

Experts said concerns over the cost of living, with people looking for cheaper alternatives to turning on their central heating, could be fuelling a rise in injuries.

Data from the International Burn Injury Database (iBID), covering England and Wales, shows there were 99 burn injuries from hot water bottles treated in major burns departments in the first six months of 2023, up from 68 in the same period in 2022.

Burns and scalds to adults and the elderly from hot water bottles also rose by about a fifth.

The data does not include more minor burns and scalds that are treated in A&E departments – meaning the figures reflect the most serious incidents.

Ken Dunn, retired consultant and plastic surgeon, and vice chairman of the Children’s Burns Trust, which released the figures with the British Burn Association, said: “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.

“If you do use them at all in the home, you should remember two key pieces of information about how to use them safely – never fill them with boiling water and always check the rubber flower symbol found on the neck which shows which month and year the hot water bottle was made.

“Any bottle older than two years old should be replaced.

“By raising awareness of the risk posed by hot water bottles and educating people on the safest way to use them – as well as the correct first aid should an injury occur – we can help to reduce the number and resultant scarring of these devastating injuries.”