A heated blanket is always a welcome addition to shivering winter nights. However, electric blankets have been the subject of controversy for the last decade. Moreover, consumers have started questioning the safety, side effects, and dangers of these blankets.
Are heated blankets safe?
Yes, modern heated blankets are as safe as regular blankets. They come with an auto turn-off function, temperature sensors, perfect insulation, and waterproof material. Moreover, various studies have shown that heated blankets are safe for health.
The old heated blankets are not as safe as new ones due to the following reasons:
- Old electric blankets can’t turn off automatically.
- There are no temperature sensors in old blankets.
- The insulation of the wiring might have been damaged.
- They are not waterproof.
What are the effects of electric blankets on our sleep?
These blankets may interfere with your sleep if you are trying to stay warm during freezing nights. It was examined in a study in 1999 whether people’s core temperatures could be affected by using heated blankets at night. Researchers found that increased core temperatures resulted in a major decrease in sleep efficiency.
According to their findings, higher body temperatures disrupt sleep. As a result of the body’s circadian rhythm, the body’s internal temperature is naturally cooled during sleep.
Electric blanket dangers
Although it sounds appealing to feel warm and comfortable, there are risks associated with heated blankets.
These products can overheat. One study from 2006 reported several deaths from heatstroke caused by electric blankets. 105° F was the body temperature of all the victims.
The blanket can also cause burns on the body part that is directly in contact with it if the patient overheats. Medical attention is sometimes needed in cases where the burns are severe.
Risk of fire
These blankets also present the risk of fire hazards if they are old or improperly maintained. Because they require electricity city, they expose you to the same dangers associated with other electronic appliances. ESFI reports nearly 500 fires caused by heated gadgets each year, with most of them occurring in over-ten-year-old blankets.
Electric blanket side effects
Overheating, burns and fire risks are some of the side effects of electric blankets.
Do heating blankets cause cancer?
Using an electric blanket all night and for many years was not linked to increased breast cancer risk, according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
In the study, 1,200 women took part, half of whom had breast cancer. In both groups, about 40% use blankets regularly. However, it was found that electric blankets did not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer, regardless of two crucial variables: age and duration of use.
Are electric blankets bad for you?
No electric blankets are not bad for everyone. However, it would be best if you were careful while using all electrical equipment.
Although electric heated blankets are safe for health, pregnant women, children, pet owners, older people, and diabetic patients should avoid them as a precautionary measure.
Pregnant women can be particularly at risk when using heated bedding, as it increases their core body temperature. The heat could be harmful to the baby and could increase the chance of miscarriage.
It is often a good idea for pregnant women to use the blanket until they’re ready to go to sleep and then unplug it.
Children under three may not understand or adjust the product on their own if it becomes too hot.
In addition to health issues, older people may be more prone to misusing a product or being less able to react to an emergency effectively.
Animals cannot control the temperature of the product, so that they may become too hot. In cold weather, you’d be better off giving your pets a regular blanket they can remove quickly if needed rather than covering them with a heated blanket.
High blood sugar damages our nerves resulting in diabetic neuropathy. The patients may not be able to observe temperature changes with this nerve damage. The blanket may become too hot
resulting in burns.
Electric blanket safety tips
- Unplug or turn off when not in use
- Don’t plug it in if it’s wet.
- Don’t place edges under your mattress.
- Use only one electric blanket at a time.
- Don’t use electric blankets with heating pads.
- Unless your blanket has a timer, turn it off before you go to sleep.
- Electric blankets shouldn’t be washed or cleaned with water unless stated explicitly in the instructions. Here is how to wash heated blankets.
- Electric blankets shouldn’t be used with hot water bottles.
- Avoid plugging it into sockets controlled by a light switch.
- Do not leave the blanket in the plug if you have a toddler who likes to tinker.
- Don’t leave it unattended for long periods or if it has been rolled up or folded previously.
- Electric blankets should not be dry-cleaned unless otherwise specified.
- Put away blankets, pillows, toys, and other items that might catch fire.
- Never fold or bend an electric blanket. Hang or roll it gently.
Are electric blankets safe for dogs?
Electric blankets are safe for dogs. However, it’s best not to cover your dog with the same blanket since our bodies differ in temperature. Dog beds that are heated with low voltage work safely for dogs and heat up as needed.
Are electric blankets safe for cats?
It is dangerous to use a heated blanket around cats. By kneeling or jumping up and around on the bed, their claws can easily penetrate the wiring. Moreover, wrinkling the blanket on itself makes it more appealing to a cat for kneading.
Are heated jackets cancerous?
No, heated jackets are not cancerous. Heated jackets use low-voltage heating technology that is safe and does not pose any known health risks.
Can electric blankets cause health problems?
While the use of electric blankets for a brief period of time is generally safe, there’s an element of risk when used incorrectly or for an extended period of time, which could cause the blanket to overheat. There are a few experts in the field who express concern over the proximity of an electromagnetic field to our bodies during sleep, and possible subsequent health risks. As a personal anecdote, I had a friend who used an electric blanket every night during the cold season. But after reading several studies linking prolonged exposure to electromagnetic fields with certain health issues, she decided to limit her blanket’s use to only exceptionally cold nights. The ongoing debate about the potential health hazards is something that anyone using an electric blanket should be aware of.
Is it unhealthy to sleep with a heated blanket?
People often wonder if it’s safe to keep an electric blanket on all night. Modern, well-cared-for electric blankets are not likely to cause issues when used correctly. However, it’s generally not advised to keep them turned on throughout the night. As per my experience, I suggest using the blanket to warm up the bed before sleep and turning it off once you’re tucked in. That way, you can enjoy the warmth without having to worry about any potential overheating issues. It’s a wise practice to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and not leave the blanket on for a long duration.
What is the safest electric blanket?
Are electric blankets safe for elderly?
For elderly individuals, electric blankets can be a great way to stay warm. However, caution is necessary to avoid any potential burns, electric shocks, or even fires. If the electric blanket has been in use for a few years, it may be time for a replacement as the internal coils woven within the fabric may be compromised or damaged over time, increasing the risk of accidents or injuries. An elderly neighbor of mine had a blanket that she had been using for years. When we realised that her blanket was quite old, we promptly advised her to replace it to prevent any accidents, further emphasizing the importance of safety when using these devices.
Annika Ramos is a physiotherapist with a passion for helping people recover from injuries and illnesses. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring her creative side through various craft projects.