Electric Blanket Safety Tips
Electric blankets are the perfect addition to any bed in winter. They keep you toasty warm and allow you to save energy by not running the heater all night. While electric blankets are generally safe to use, it’s important to follow all recommended safety precautions. Follow these safety tips below and practice all fire safety rules so you can enjoy your electric blanket while staying safe.
Practice Fire Safety
Above all else, you should follow all safety precautions to prevent fires in your home. Follow the same rules you’d use with any other electrical device.
- Always unplug when not in use
- Never use around water
- Don’t use if cords are frayed
- Don’t let children use while unattended
The correct use of electric blankets is important for your home fire safety. Be sure to follow these tips specific to safe electric blanket use as well.
Follow All Manufacturer Rules
Be sure to read any manuals or warnings that came with your electric blanket. Follow all rules for use and care. While these rules apply to all brands of electric blankets, it’s important to check your manual for anything specific to your blanket.
Get a Blanket That’s Been Tested
You can check your blanket for a tag that lets you know if it’s been tested. You’ll want a blanket brand that was tested by an independent tester so that you know it’s safe.
Store Fire Blankets Correctly
- Let the blanket cool down before folding or storing.
- Loosely fold the blanket, or roll it in a towel or plastic bag and then store in a cool dry place.
- Do not use any moth-proofing products or chemicals.
- Don’t place any heavy items on top of the blanket while you are storing it.
When it’s time to use the blanket again, after storing the blanket, lay it out and turn it on then run your hand over it to feel for any hotspots.
Check for Damage Regularly
You should always check your blanket for signs of damage, especially at the beginning of fall or winter if it’s been in storage since the year before. Inspect the cord for fraying and the rest of the blanket for tears and scorch marks. You can check the wires inside the blanket by holding it up to a light source and looking inside.
Use a Blanket Made Within the Last Ten Years
Any blanket that’s more than ten years old wasn’t made following the current safety regulations. If you’re blanket is older or you aren’t sure when it was made, it’s safer to get a new one. On that note, you shouldn’t use a secondhand blanket. You likely don’t know how old it is and if the previous user followed all safety precautions.
Use Proper Placement
The blanket should be placed flat on your bed. Don’t allow it to bunch up and don’t tuck it under any corners. Use a blanket made for your bed size and only use on a standard bed. Don’t use electric blankets on hospital beds, water beds, couches, or recliners.
Don’t Double Up
You may be tempted to use two electric blankets at once, but it’s a fire safety hazard. Be sure to use one at a time. Also, you shouldn’t use a heating pad along with an electric blanket.
Turn It Off if It Gets Too Hot
You can suffer from thermal burns with an electric blanket that’s too hot or has been on for too long. It’s best to turn the blanket off the moment it starts too feel too warm or uncomfortable.
Turn the Blanket Off Before Falling Asleep
While same blankets are deemed safe for overnight use, it’s much safer to turn the blanket off before you fall asleep. Your body heat should be enough to keep your warm through the night. You don’t want to risk the blanket overheating you. If there are kids in the bed with you, be sure to turn the blanket off before going to sleep.
You should avoid using the blanket with infants or people with limited mobility. They could be trapped under a hot blanket and run the risk of getting a thermal burn.
To be extra safe, invest in a blanket that has an auto turn-off feature.
Keep the Cord Loose
Cords are unsightly, but you shouldn’t run the cord between the mattress and box spring. The cord could overheat and cause a fire. If you don’t like the way the blanket looks, it’s safer to just put the blanket away when you’re not using it. Just remember to roll or hang it instead of folding it.
Also be careful to place the cord somewhere where it won’t cause anyone to trip. When you store the blanket, detach the cord and don’t roll or fold it up in the blanket.
Don’t Let Your Pet Get on the Blanket
Many people love to sleep with their cat or dog, but if your pet is moving around on top of the blanket, their claws can tear the cover and damage the wires. Pets tend to play and chew, which can also lead to damage. Even a cat “kneading” the covers can cause problems.
Don’t Put Your Blanket in the Washing Machine
Electric blankets are not made to go in the washer and dryer. You also shouldn’t dry clean or iron. Read and follow the manufacturer instructions regarding cleaning your blanket.
Don’t Use While Pregnant
If you’re pregnant, you should stop all electric blanket use until after your baby is born. Too much heat on your belly isn’t good for the baby.
Check With Your Doctor if You Have Diabetes
Some people with diabetes also suffer from neuropathy. Neuropathy can prevent you from being able to feel if the blanket gets too hot and can lead to thermal burns. Your doctor can give you the best advice on electric blanket use.
If you want to be safe and still have a warm bed, use the blanket to warm up your bed and then remove it before you get in. You’ll get the benefit of a warm bed without having to worry about overheating.
Using an electric blanket is a great way to beat the winter cold and get instantly warm when you get into bed. Electric blankets account for only a small amount of house fires, but it’s still necessary to engage in safe practice for their use. Stay safe with your electric blanket and stay cozy all winter long.
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