As the weather gets colder, many of us will start to make use of an electric blanket to keep the bed warm and cosy, but caution does need to be exercised when it comes to safely using your electric blanket.
With estimates suggesting that they are responsible for more than 5,000 house fires a year the team at www.sleepypeople.com have put together 10 essential electric blanket safety tips to follow before switching on this winter:
1. Check for wear and tear
It is crucial to inspect your blanket regularly for signs of wear and tear, especially if the blanket has been in storage during the winter. Look out for scorch marks, frayed fabric, worn flex or exposed elements that all suggest that it is time to invest in a new electric blanket. Even if there are no visible signs of damage, it is recommended that you replace electric blankets every 10 years, and get them tested every three years to be safe.
2. Check the wiring, plug and cabling
As well as checking the blanket, check the plug and cabling, to ensure it remains in good working order before use. If the blankets control makes a buzzing sound when switched on, it’s time to trade in your blanket for a new one.
3. Follow product instructions
It is important to only use the electric blanket for its intended purpose, with over blankets positioned above the person, and under blankets below. Never use an electric blanket as an over blanket!
4. Choose a low voltage for children’s blankets
If you are using an electric blanket on your child’s bed, look for a low voltage electric blanket. Around 25 volts is recommended, rather than the more usual 120 volts, as this considerably lowers the risks of overheating.
5. Avoid getting the blanket wet
If it does get wet, then do not use the blanket as it could be very dangerous. Never switch on the blanket to dry it out or use a hot water bottle with the use of an electric blanket!
6. Ensure the blanket is secure
If you leave the electric blanket on the bed all year round, ensure that the blanket is tied down securely before use, so that it does not slip or move, as this can increase the risk of damage.
7. Check for safety standard marks
When purchasing a new electric blanket, look out for safety standard marks on the product – a symbol that guarantees the blanket has been independently tested and meets the latest UK and European safety standards.
8. Don’t opt for a second-hand electric blanket
With a recommended 10-year life span, it could be extremely dangerous to purchase a second-hand electric blanket as it may not meet current safety requirements.
9. Choose a reputable brand
When buying a new electric blanket, The Bedding Company recommend choosing a reputable brand you can trust. Popular bedding brand Silentnight have a range of electric blankets that are available from only £22.
10. Store away correctly
It is important to keep electric blankets flat at all times. If they are creased or folded, then this can cause damage to the wiring, which increases the risk of them becoming a safety hazard. If you are storing electric blankets away, either lay them out flat on a spare bed or roll them up, rather than folding. It is also recommended that you let the blanket cool down fully before storing away and also avoid placing heavy items on top of the blanket while it is being stored as this can damage wiring.