Using electric blankets safely

Electric blanket reviews: Using electric blankets safely

Faulty electric blankets can cause deadly fires – around 20 people are killed and 250 are injured every year in fires caused by electric blankets, so it’s important to be mindful of safety when choosing one.

None of the blankets we tested had safety problems, but there are a few things you can do to help keep your blanket fault-free, as well as signs to watch out for if you suspect it isn’t.

Who should use electric blankets

Electric blankets aren’t suitable on water beds and manufacturers advise they shouldn’t be used by young children, or those who are suffering from a serious illness or who are insensitive to heat.

According to Diabetes UK, people with neuropathy – a nerve condition which people with diabetes can develop that can result in loss of feeling– should use electric blankets with caution. Excessive use of the blankets may result in minor burns which people with neuropathy may not notice.

Maintaining your blanket

The lifespan of an electric blanket varies, though it’s typically around five to ten years. Signs of a fault include:

• frayed blanket edges
• scorch marks
• exposed, damaged or broken wiring
• the blanket won’t heat up properly.

To keep your blanket in good nick, keep it on the bed all year round instead of creased up in a cupboard, and follow the washing instructions.

Ideally, get your blanket checked out be an expert once a year. Your local council may have a service that can do this, either through trading standards or the fire service. If not, contact the manufacturer or a qualified electrician.