​Safety standards – What do they mean?

When looking to purchase and use a heatable product, it’s important to recognise which safety standard it holds and what it means.

Whether it’s a wheat bag, hot water bottle, microwavable toy or other similar type of warming item, it should be certified and labelled for compliance so you can have complete confidence that it’s been tested before being released into the public domain…if it isn’t – don’t buy it!

Heat-Treats is committed to only supplying goods that meet every guideline for complete compliance, because you being totally safe whilst getting the benefit of the using products we sell matters most.

Here’s a brief overview of the safety requirements that apply to the heatable goods in our catalogue.

Wheat bags: BS 8433:2004

Surprisingly there is no known legal requirement in the UK for safety testing or clear labelling of wheat bags, however, there is a voluntary safety standard in place, albeit unregulated, and a responsible manufacturer and retailer will ensure their goods meet these requirement regardless of enforcement, so it's important to buy a product that does comply with BS8433:2004 and that you you follow the heating instructions provided.

BS8433:2004 is a British standard that forces a manufacturer to:

  • rigorously test their products
  • provide heating instructions that are clear and easy to follow, borne out of a strict heat testing exercise rather than estimated; easy to see by defined font sizes so everyone can read the instructions
  • require the labels to be sewn into the product itself as well as an easy to read swing tag.

Hot Water Bottles: BS 1970:2012

BS1970 is an internationally recognised UK safety standard for hot water bottles, whether rubber or PVC that provides minimum specifications to help ensure consumer safety.

It requires that manufacturers follow strict guidelines on production, testing the product for purpose and ensuring that the end user has clear instructions for safely filling, using, caring for and storing the hot water bottle.

Although mainly associated with filling instructions and general safety, the standard also includes certain manufacturing best practices.

The relevant standard should be permanently marked on the bottle and is usually stamped on the inside of the bottle neck along with the manufacturer’s and/or distributors mark so that in the event of a serious defect the manufacturer/distributor can be located.

  • 1.Fill requirements.

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.

It must be possible to fill the hot water bottle to the recommended two thirds / three quarters capacity in 30 seconds.

The minimum elongation at break for PVC materials has been reduced from 200% to 150%. Elongation at break measures how much bending and shaping a material can withstand without being compromised.

  • 2.Safety Recommendations
  • Always be careful when filling and using hot water bottles.
  • Check the entire hot water bottle including the stopper for any signs of wear or damage, splits or perishing before use; if the bottle is split or perished, do not use and replace with a new one.
  • Use a cover or wrap the bottle in a towel before using to help prevent burns.
  • 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.
  • Do not overfill bottle as this may cause it to burst
  • Ensure that the funnel is empty
  • Make sure the top is firmly closed before using.
  • Do not lay or sit on the hot water bottle or use as a cushion.
  • Do not place anything on top of a hot water bottle whilst in storage.
  • For children and the elderly, use the bottle to warm the bed, then remove before the person gets into bed.                                

Microwaveable Toys:

Microwaveable toys should BE compliant with 2 sets of safety standards: BS8433 for heatable goods, as described above (wheat bags), as well as EN71 – a European standard and also a part of the CE directive specifying safety requirement for toys.

EN71 is a set of European Product Safety standard that applies to all toys sold in the European Union. EN 71, which is, has been put in place to ensure that all toys sold in the EU meet certain minimum safety standards on the following factors

Microwavable toys should have the following compliance certification EN71-1/2/3 which means the toy has been thoroughly tested for:

  • Mechanical and physical properties (EN 71-1)
  • Flammability (EN 71-2)
  • Specification for migration of certain elements (EN 71-3)