The Repression of Fraud has conducted an investigation to ensure that hot water bottles marketed in France regardless of the model (microwave, electric, etc.) provide sufficient safety guarantees for consumers. Sixteen products analyzed were found to be non-compliant, five of which could be considered dangerous with in particular a risk of burns.


It is one of the essential accessories for the winter season, even more so during this period of reconfinement: hot water bottles, often related to wellness products, are now available in a variety of shapes and materials. But be careful because their use is not trivial because the method of heating these materials in the microwave oven presents in particular the risk of burns. In 2019, the Repression of Fraud * conducted a survey on the safety of hot water bottles in one hundred and fifty-five establishments. Of the nineteen samples taken and analyzed, sixteen of them were found to be non-compliant, five of which were considered dangerous.

 These results led investigators, in the most critical cases, to withdraw the products from the market. They were interested in microwave hot water bottles made from natural products, gel or pearls, PVC or rubber hot water bottles intended to be filled with water, and electric hot water bottles. The result: flaws in consumer information. "Many hot water bottle references were sold with incomplete instructions with regard to the standards in force, specifying neither the safety information nor the conditions of use, or presenting this information in a language other than French, or without any instructions" , note the experts.

Beware of false claims

For example, a hot water bottle model presented as a "hot water bottle blanket" displayed contradictory marking: on the one hand, the exclusion symbol for age 0-3 years, suggesting that it was a question of a toy, on the other hand a statement "this product is not a toy". The checks also covered all types of claims or indications of origin and the provenance of the products. According to experts, "some hot water bottles wrongly made therapeutic claims or unfounded indications of origin, in particular for hot water bottles with microwaveable seeds. A hot water bottle bearing an “organic” label without proof, was withdrawn from sale following investigations. "

Finally, the investigation showed that PVC or rubber hot water bottles can frequently present construction problems, "in particular mechanical weaknesses, such as insufficient strength of the welds, which presents a real risk of burns", adds the Fraud. In more detail, the analysis revealed the dangerousness of four PVC or rubber hot water bottles, eight microwaveable hot water bottles (with seeds or silicone beads) and three electric hot water bottles. For the first category, users were exposed to the risk of burns related to the possible tear of the casing, insufficient strength of the welds or the body of the hot water bottle.

 A real risk of burns in the event of a manufacturing defect

As a result, two references were withdrawn from sale and for the other two references, the investigation is ongoing. Microwaveable hot water bottles were qualified as "unsatisfactory" due to a lack of information and clarity on the conditions of use: heating time, power, safety instructions and the measures to be taken. case of overheating. “The fact that the standard (BS 8433 standard of 2004, relating to microwave hot water bottles) is little used by manufacturers explains the shortcomings noted. ", Indicates the organization, which also specifies that" the companies, when it was possible, carried out the compliance of their labeling ".

Finally, the three electric hot water bottles were found to be non-compliant due to a lack of instructions and marking. One of them, which did not comply with the so-called "low voltage" decree, was even recognized as dangerous because it presented a risk of electric shock. The experts conclude that “this investigation, which gave rise to nearly four hundred control actions, revealed that hot water bottles, seemingly harmless objects, can have potentially serious construction defects for the consumer, in addition to the shortcomings in the content of their notices. »Several products were withdrawn from the market following the investigations carried out.

* Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF)