Are Electric Blankets Safe to Use?

blanketA lot of safety issues have been raised in the past regarding the use of electric blankets. These blankets have the ability to warm up your cold winter nights, making you cosy and comfortable, but they do need proper maintenance and care to be taken in usage. These blankets usually come in two types; over blankets which are placed on top of your bedding to keep a high and comfortable temperature and secondly, under blankets which actually fit inside of your mattress to warm the whole of your bed much like a hot water bottle would. These come in various styles and sizes to suit your desires.

Now to debunk a myth; Electric blankets are generally suitable for all except for – small children and infants, pregnant or suspected pregnant women, lactating women and diabetics.

Electric blankets, these days are safer than they used to be when they were first invented, as now many blankets use high tech, low-voltage to heat up. As with any other electric appliance, things can go wrong, even with electric blankets, though the risk factor is quite a lot lower these days due to the technology we now have at our disposal. For example, if the blanket breaks, a control may not work properly or heating wire might break or auto timer is not working, or some other problem might occur, then it is down to the owner to be wise enough to replace the blanket.

Children who have a bed wetting problem, for obvious reasons should not be allowed to use electric blankets. Pregnant women should not use these blankets as a high level of heat can be harmful for the unborn fetus and can even lead to miscarriage. With diabetic patients, it has been known for them to lose some feelings in their limbs which can be known to cause severe burns, if they are not able to feel a dangerous level of warmth. Electric blankets usually have a control unit to adjust the heat and can be used for pre heating or for keeping the bed warm whole night. Some modern “low voltage” blankets have thin carbon fibre wires which work on 12-24 V. These are much more comfortable and of course far more importantly, they are much safer than the older ones which used a dangerous “high voltage”. Modern electric blankets have a clever auto shut off mechanism which prevents overheating or a risk of fire.

Along with a lot of other modern appliances such as mobile phones, electromagnetic radiation from electric blankets has been accused of creating a higher risk of causing breast cancer, brain tumour or leukaemia. The types of frequencies to come from electric blankets is extremely low, and they are confidently sold for your use in any shops, so are not deemed dangerous by most health and safety professionals.

Fire can be a threat if you are not using an electric blanket properly. To reduce this threat, always try and follow the safety measures which are as follows (do’s and don’ts):

  • Never use electric blanket around water to reduce risk of electrocution
  • Turn off the blanket when not in use
  • Never use when fabric is worn out, tie tapes are damaged, heating wires are displaced or the connections are loose
  • Never leave the blanket unattended
  • Do not bend any wire element inside the blanket
  • No cleaning fluid to be used
  • No ironing of the blanket, as this will melt the wires
  • Replace your blanket after every 10 years
  • Always go in for a safety standard mark product
  • Always buy a new blanket
  • Never use a wet or moist blanket
  • Cool and then fold
  • Do not allow pets near the blanket as they might chew the wires

Electric blankets are convenient and cost effective. I feel there is no problem in using electric blankets as far as you follow all precautions and safety measures properly. Always follow your manufacturer’s instructions and tips and then there should be no problem. I personally believe that in today’s world everything has pro’s and con’s, so be safe by always keeping safety in mind. An electric blanket is still a luxury and an advanced electric item to give you a sound sleep during chilly winter nights. Choose the best with great features, no matter what the price is.

As is often said- “safety is worth the investment”