Electric blankets make cozy companions on chilly days. But before you plug yours in and snuggle up for the season, follow these dos and don'ts for electric blanket safety.
Do: Check the Product Label
Make sure your electric blanket is certified by a national testing laboratory, such as UL. You can also check the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make sure your electric blanket has not been recalled.
Don't: Use an Old Blanket
The majority of electric blanket and heating pad fires are caused by blankets and pads older than 10 years. That's because newer blankets are less likely to be worn through, plus they operate with rheostats. A rheostat controls heat by gauging both the blanket temperature and the user's body temperature.
Do: Keep the Blanket Flat While Using It
Folds or bunched-up areas can create and trap too much heat.
Don't: Place Anything on the Blanket
This includes yourself: Sitting on the electric blanket while it's on can trap heat, creating an ignition risk.
Do: Think About an Electric Blanket with Auto-Shutoff
If your blanket doesn't have a timer, turn it off before going to sleep.
Don't: Use the Spin Cycle
Washing machines and electric blankets don't mix: There's no guarantee that the internal coils in your blanket won't get twisted or damaged.
Do: Consider Your Bed
Never use an electric blanket on a waterbed or adjustable, hospital-style bed.
Don't: Allow Pets Near Your Blanket
Cat or dog claws can cause rips and tears, which may expose the electric wiring of the blanket and create shock and fire hazards. If you can't keep your pet away, consider purchasing a low-voltage blanket.
Don't: Run Cords Under Your Mattress
It's tempting to keep cords hidden, but running them under the mattress creates friction that can damage the cord or trap excess heat.
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