There are many ways to warm up yourself in the cold months.
One of the ways that are becoming popular is using electric blankets.
Once an electric blanket is heated, it can warm you up while helping you unwind.
Although they are considered safer than ever, you may worry about leaving them on.
So, Is It Okay to Leave an Electric Blanket on Overnight?
NO – DON’T DO IT. Doing that increases the risk of fires, burns, cancer, miscarriages in pregnant women, and heatstroke, among other issues. The risk is higher with old blankets that have been used for over ten years than newer electric blankets. Please do not use these products continuously for more than 20 minutes.
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A Brief History of Electric Blankets
Before we explain where they originated, it’s essential we define what electric blankets are first.
These are products designed more like a quilt than a blanket.
Manufacturers sew two blankets or fabric pieces together to form a quilt, then add heat coils between them. These coils provide the warmth and relaxation needed when you turn the blankets on.
The first electric blanket was invented in the 1900s.
Today people use these products as the top layer. But initially, they were meant to be used as a bottom layer.
Many improvements were made to this first blanket, and in 1930, a more comfortable version was released. The technology used in making these products has continuously progressed, contributing to their popularity.
Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Sleep with an Electric Blanket on
1. Increases Your Risk of Electric Fires
When an electric blanket overheats, it can cause a fire. This usually happens in old, damaged, or improperly used blankets.
For this reason, it is not advisable to use blankets older than ten years. In most cases, these have decayed wires and components that may start a fire.
Additionally, older models do not have internal temperature controls, automatic shutoff, and other safety features, which increases the risk of electric fires even more.
Also, note that using your electric blanket incorrectly, like folding or ironing, can cause the cord to fray or crimp. When this happens, the blanket can quickly start an electric fire.
It is also wise to avoid running the cable between or under combustible materials to prevent damaging the internal components of the blanket, which increases the risk of fires.
Generally, newer models have better safety features, making them less risky than older blankets.
2. Increases Your Risk of Burns and Heatstroke
In some cases, electric blankets can overheat, which causes burns. When this happens, you will need immediate medical intervention.
Sleeping with your electric blanket on is not a good idea as it may lead to burns because your sensory stimuli, i.e., smell, touch, temperature, and sound, are not effective when you are in a deep sleep.
Again, you may experience a heatstroke. But this is rare and life-threatening.
Electric blankets can cause hyperthermia, in which your body temperature dramatically rises due to exposure to high heat and dehydration. Several fatal incidents of hyperthermia have been recorded.
Although anyone can get burns from an electric blanket, the individuals that are at more risk are;
Especially those under three years. In fact, it is not recommended for them to use an electric blanket as they don’t know how to control the temperature or unplug it.
Most senior citizens have cognitive or physical issues.
Therefore, they cannot control electric blankets effectively, which increases their risk of electric burns and even death when the temperature is exceptionally high.
Again experts advise incontinent senior adults not to use these blankets since washing them may damage the wires and heating components, increasing the fire risk.
People with Heat Sensitivity
If your blood circulation is poor, or you have nerve damage or suffering from an impaired temperature, it is not advisable to use an electric blanket.
These conditions reduce your ability to detect or feel the heat on your skin. So, you may not know when the heat is too much for your body to handle.
Sometimes, diabetic people experience neuropathy, a loss of sensation, making it difficult to know whether the blanket is too hot. As a result, it increases their risk of burns and heat strokes.
People with Mobility Challenges
Electric blankets aren’t recommended to people with mobility challenges as they can’t move or adjust the temperatures without help.
Plus, they may roll over or sit on the electric blanket in a dangerous way that could lead to the coils bending or breaking, thus increasing their risk of fire and burns.
Additionally, if a person has limb paralysis or physical issues affecting their nerves, they are at a higher risk of getting burned with an electric blanket.
Your dog or cat can tear the blanket and break the coil, making it a fire hazard.
This risk is higher in dogs as they cannot regulate their body temperature like humans. Therefore, they can overheat and be affected by their inability to release heat from the blanket.
3. Increases Your Risk of Cancer
Electric blankets are electrical appliances, meaning they emit an Electromagnetic Field when you turn them on. Long-term use can cause cancer. But this area needs more research.
Again we should mention that electric blankets may not be safe for developing fetuses.
Three Electric Blanket Safety Precautions
Electric blankets are helpful during winter and when camping outside. They can warm you up and relax you at the same time.
But, to get maximum benefits from your electric blanket, you need to follow several safety precautions:
1. Turn Your Blanket Off At Night
It’s not advisable to leave your electric blanket on overnight for the reasons we have discussed above. Some people even discourage using it longer than 20 minutes.
2. Use It As A Top Layer
Don’t add more blankets or quilts on top of your electric blanket.
Also, do not lie or sit on it. You’re supposed to use it as a top layer. Otherwise, if they overheat, they can cause burns and other injuries.
3. Consider The Bed Size
Electric blankets should remain flat and un-crinkled when using them.
So, it is better to use them on an average bed. Please don’t use this blanket on a waterbed or adjustable bed frame. These types can damage your blanket and reduce its longevity.
Three Things to Consider Before Deciding to Sleep with an Electric Blanket
If you are thinking of sleeping with your electric blanket overnight, you need to think about certain things. These include;
1. Does Your Blanket Have An Auto Shutoff Feature?
Many modern models come with an inbuilt auto-shutoff feature.
This allows the controls to check how hot the blanket gets and turn it off automatically if the temperature is too high. As such, it reduces the risk of electrical fires, common with older blankets.
2. Does Your Blanket Have A Timer Function?
A timer function ensures that you remain comfortable when sleeping. It lets you choose various time lengths to set your blanket to turn off when they are achieved.
Most experts advise using the blanket for one hour at most. With a timer function, you won’t need to worry about leaving it on overnight.
3. Does Your Blanket Have Dual Controls?
These are mostly in modern blankets, which allow individuals to use the blanket simultaneously but at varying temperatures.
With these controls, your partner can turn off the blanket when you fall asleep.
As we’ve seen, sleeping with an electric blanket is generally not safe. That is because it increases your risk to fire, burns, and even cancer in some cases.
So, please remember to turn off your blanket when going to sleep.