Electric blankets grew in popularity from the moment they were introduced to the market. They help keep you warm during the winter months when nights can get frigidly cold. However, the fame didn’t last long with several side effects of electric blankets that pretty much made it a dealbreaker.
Now, decades later we’ll tell the truth about the electric blankets and potential risks of using them.
Risks of Using Electric Blankets
Electric blankets are an electric appliance which just like any other can be the leading cause of sparking a fire at home.
There is a history of events where electric blankets started the fire that damaged people’s property and even compromised lives. Back in 2010, a fire in Walnut Creek in California started from a faulty electric blanket, claiming one life.
The first side effects of electric blanket appeared during the mid-’90s and extended towards the late years of the same decade.
The worrisome number of house fires in the UK and the USA reduced the market presence of these blankets. People who used them became wary and reduced the use of these products.
A study from 2006 found that people died due to overheating or even certain degree burns which were a result of using a damaged electric blanket.
Even other publications urged people to reduce the use of electric blankets as they can cause overheating and burns can be especially fatal towards people who suffer from diabetes.
Some people may not even notice how hot the blanket is because they suffer from certain nerve damage, and thus may have lost the perception to recognize the blanket got hot before it’s too late.
The use of an electric blanket could have a fatal consequence for the pregnancy, by increasing the risk of miscarriage.
Several studies found that using electric blankets in early pregnancy increased the risk of miscarriage. If you’re pregnant and you feel cold, you’re better off using warm water bottles or just turning the blanket on to warm up your bed. If you use it to sleep with it, use it at your own risk.
An electric blanket is an electrical device which means it will also emit the electromagnetic field (EMF) once you turn it on.
A lot of studies hypothesized that EMF exposure leads to damage in our bodies and can eventually cause cancer, especially breast cancer and brain tumor if you’re exposed to it for too long.
However, it’s important to note that electric blankets emit a low-level electromagnetic field, which is believed to not be as dangerous or potentially lethal to people.
The American Cancer Society reported that while it’s impossible to confirm the link, it’s also hard to rule it out while hinting that electromagnetic radiation could cause leukemia in childhood.
If you believe exposure to the low-level magnetic field could expose you to the malicious disease, you should find ways to reduce your exposure to the EMF or consider replacing your electric blanket in entirety.
Old Electric Blankets Vs. New Ones
It’s important to note that electric blankets vastly changed compared to the last years. Old electric blankets come with a lot of risks, but the same can’t be said for newer designs, which are a result of cutting-edge technology.
That said, the new models have minimal risks of causing burns on your body or sparking a fire.
First and foremost, the vast majority of fire outbreaks are caused by old, damaged, and weary electric blankets.
Keep in mind that wires, and other components begin to decay over the years, meaning that electric blankets can’t and won’t last forever.
If you don’t use your electric blanket properly, or store it how it should be stored, chances are that there is a risk of the incident at your home, and you certainly don’t want that.
If you’re sleeping with an electric blanket that you don’t know how old it is, and it looks kind of weary, perhaps it’s the time to look for a new model. Here’s why new models are better than the old ones.
- New models are equipped with temperature controls as well as safety controls and other features. One of the most prominent safety-inducing features is rheostat which can decrease the risk of fires and burns induced by old blankets.
- If you own an electric blanket for many years, the probability of it being worn off and damaged is high. A research conducted by Columbia University found that 99% of all-electric blanket-induced fires and life-threatening burns were caused by models that were in use for at least ten years.
- New models come with internal temperature controls that simplify their use. Consumers can now turn the heating off before the blanket gets too hot without plugging it out.
Maintenance of new electric blankets is also relatively easier, because they come with safety switches which can automatically turn off the device when it’s too hot and you forgot to unplug it.
The older models were more prone to fires because the electric blanket was left plugged for a long time even when the product wasn’t in use and that shortened its lifespan. The wires can overheat while inadequate storage like folding, crumpling, and smushing the blanket can lead to wires getting bent and damaged.
Suggest Reading: What Is the Perfect Temperature for Sleep?
Who Shouldn’t Use Electric Blanket?
Even though we unveiled that the electric blankets of the newer generation are genuinely safer for people who take proper care of them, it’s important to note that some groups are still at risk of using them. In case you’re one of the following, you should avoid using the electric blankets.
Looking for some alternatives? Maybe you can check Bedjet V3 Review: Best Bed Climate Control Comfort System?
How to Use Electric Blanket Properly (13 Tips)
Despite certain risks and side effects of electric blankets, there are still ways to use it properly. Here’s how.
Lastly, if you’re shopping for an electric blanket or getting it as a gift, ensure that it’s not too old and worn off to use. Additionally, ensure that it has been tested and approved by the testing agency like Underwriters Laboratories (UL) as well as other certifications.
Also, if you are shopping for it, don’t buy the already used blanket, no matter how much in a good shape it is. Also, if the wires and other attachments look loose and not bound properly, likely, it won’t function well.