Hot Water Bottles Safety British Standard (BS 1970:2012)

  • BS 1970 is an internationally recognised UK safety standard for rubber and PVC hot water bottles. The aim of BS 1970 is to provide minimum specifications for hot water bottles and in doing so help ensure safety.
  • The standard has gone through various amendments over the years, most recently in December 2012, with the introduction of BS 1970:2012. These standards came into effect on 31st December 2012 and superseded BS 1970:2006.
  • The changes for the new 2012 standards, are mainly associated with filling and general safety. They can be summarised as follows:


  • The inside faces of the hot water bottle must not stick together or block any water during filling. This does not only refer to the bottle neck but to the hot water bottle as a whole (clause 4.3).
  • It must be possible to fill the hot water bottle to the recommended capacity (often 2/3-3/4 total capacity) within 30s. 
  • The minimum elongation at break for PVC materials has been reduced from 200% to 150%. (clause 6.4.3)

New and adapted safety instructions/best practices

  • Do not overfill bottle as this may cause it to burst
  • Ensure that the funnel is empty
  • Adequate protection (e.g. kitchen gloves, towel, etc.) is required if there is even the slightest possibility of extended contact of hot water bottle with skin
  • Hot water bottles must never be used as cushions or be sat on
  • Do not place anything on top of a hot water bottle whilst in storage
  • Check the entire hot water bottle including the stopper for any signs of wear or damage before use