How to Use Electric Blankets Safely

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Electric blankets provide a welcome respite from the cold during the winter months, and while some people might use them occasionally there are others who won’t be caught without them during that time and use them heavily. However, they are an electrical appliance and as with all other appliances, especially ones that emanate heat, there are some risks associated with using them. You may ask how serious are these risks and how can they be avoided? Let’s look at some of the common risks.

Fire Hazard

Electric blankets have long cords and a plug. Depending on how sturdily they are manufactured, there is possibility that the cord can become frayed or worn and present a fire hazard. Also if a blanket becomes creased or bunched up and there is a concentration of wires in one area, that area might become overheated and cause a fire. You should always take great care with handling the power cord, making sure that it is not subject to any activity that will cause wear or damage. As far as practical, keep it out of the way during operation and properly store the blanket after use. While in use, take steps to ensure that the blanket is laid out flat and that it remains that way during use.

Overheating

While you snuggle under the blanket, you should ensure that your body does not become overheated, which may cause a series of medical problems in a short time. Make sure that the blanket’s thermostat is working properly and that the blanket maintains a steady heat during the period in which it is being used. Heating blankets should not be used by diabetics, as they may have insensitivity to heat, and it is also advisable that pregnant women avoid using a blanket during pregnancy. Persons who have a pacemaker should check with their doctor or the pacemaker manufacturer before using a heated blanket.

Improper Use

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Electric blankets are manufactured with specific uses in mind, and by varying the intended use you may cause unnecessary problems for yourself. A blanket that has been manufactured to be used as a cover should not be used as a mattress pad or a fitted sheet and, likewise, a product made for use as a pad should not be used as a throw or cover. These actions can damage the blankets, which make them more likely to be fire hazards.

Electromagnetic Fields

Any appliance that is plugged in and uses AC current emits an electromagnetic field (EMF) around it. In the early 1990s there was some concern about the effects of EMFs on a person’s health; they were thought to cause cancer and other serious medical conditions. While research was done to verify these claims, no conclusive evidence was found that showed that EMFs caused medical problems. Despite this, blanket manufactures at the time took steps to reduce the EMFs emitted by the blankets. Since that time, there have been renewed concerns which have yet to be proven. The concern about EMFs while using an electric blanket comes down to a personal choice because even though there has been no conclusive evidence that they cause harm, if you are very concerned about this possibility, an electric heated blanket may not be for you.