Safety tips for using electric blankets

SHARE

Before using an electric blanket for the first time each season, check it for damage and wear and check it again each time the sheets on the bed are changed.
Make sure the electric blanket is laid out flat, as creasing can damage the heating elements.
Look at the control switch, cord and plug and check for any kinks, worn wires, scorch marks or breaks in the heating element.
Keep the power cord extended, not coiled, and keep the cord and control switch in a clear area away from the bed to avoid damage.
After inspecting a blanket, turn it on for 15 minutes at the highest setting without leaving the room and then turn it off and unplug it from the mains supply.
Run a hand over the blanket and feel for hot spots.
A hot spot means the heating coil has been kinked or damaged.
Take the blanket to a licensed electrical repairer or buy a new one.
Check electric blankets regularly, no matter how new they are.
Three to five years of regular use is about the maximum expected safe life of an electric blanket.
Only use an electric blanket to warm a bed and take care when it is switched on.
If the blanket is left switched on while a person sleeps, it can overheat their body.
Overheating can be lifethreatening, especially for very young children and the elderly.
If you want to sleep with an electric blanket switched on, first check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure it can be used in this way.
If it can, keep the control on the lowest setting.
Do not put clothes or allow pets on top of bedding while an electric blanket is switched on, as it could cause the blanket to overheat and start a fire. Never leave a switchedon electric blanket unattended for a long time.
Never place a hot-water bottle in a bed with a switched-on electric blanket.
If an electric blanket gets wet, dry it thoroughly following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Young children should use electric blankets only when they no longer need nappies and have been taught to use a blanket safely.
Dampness or spilled water could cause an electric shock if the blanket is faulty.
For more tips on using an electric blanket safely this winter, visit www.med.govt.nz/energysafety.