What are the dangers with electric blankets?

Every year, electrical products are associated with injuries, deaths and fires in homes. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends inspecting electrical products in your home every six months. Every time you move into a new home or change your clocks is the perfect time to check other electrical products to make sure they are still working properly and safely maintained.

An electrical product that sometimes gets overlooked is the electric blanket. However, it is probably one of the more important items to check, because it is subjected to wear and tear simply as a result of cleaning, folding and unfolding it, which can loosen or damage wires and heating elements.

Look for cracks or breaks in wiring, plugs and connectors. Also look for dark, charred or frayed spots on either side of the blanket. Any of these conditions indicate damage and a potential fire hazard. Do not cover the electric blanket with anything while it is in use. If covered by things like other blankets or even pets, electric blankets may overheat. Also, always make sure the blanket is laid out flat while in use. A folded blanket may overheat.

Do not tuck in the electric blanket, as it may cause the heat producing wires t bend around the corners. Never pinch the heat-producing wires. This may cause damage, and damaged wires can create a fire hazard.

Most important, use your judgment when operating an electric blanket. Manufacturing defects can cause blankets to overheat, putting you at risk for skin burns, and posing a fire hazard.

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