Electric blankets are a wonderful way of keeping warm during the cold winter months. They can, however, be dangerous. According to UK Fire Service statistics, they account for more than 5,000 home fires every year. A few simple precautions can prevent injuries through faulty electric blankets.
Safety checks before purchasing electric blankets
The first things to remember are never to buy second-hand electric blankets and to always buy electric blankets from reputable dealers. It is also vital to look for European and/or British Standard, as well as third party safety certification marks on both packaging and blankets.
Safety standard marks and certification
These marks show that the blanket has been independently tested for safety and meets current European/UK safety standards. The sign to look out for features a black background with white capital letters. Blankets with round BEAB marks are over 10 years old and should not be purchased. In addition, new blankets should also feature overheat protection.
Preventing injury by defective electric blankets
While manufacturers and retailers do their best to prevent damages to blankets during packaging and transport, such damages cannot always be prevented. Before using the newly purchased blanket, it is therefore important to conduct a visual check to ensure it shows no signs of visible damage. Other steps of preventing injury by damaged electric blankets include:
- Always reading and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Checking manufacturer’s cleaning/washing instructions.
- Keeping such instructions for future reference.
- Regularly examining blankets for signs of damage/wear and tear.
To prevent accidental injuries, blankets must also be used according to their intended purpose. Under-blankets, for instance, should not be used to cover a person, while over-blankets should never be placed under a person. In addition, electric blankets should never:
- Be used if creased, ruffled or still folded.
- Be used in conjunction with hot water bottles.
- Be used if wet/damp.
- Be touched with wet hands/feet.
- Be held in place with pins.
Blankets with visual signs of damage should be disposed of safely and replaced with new ones. More detailed information on the safe use of electric blankets can be found on the UK Fire Service’s Website (http://www.fireservice.co.uk/safety/electric-blankets).
If you were injured by faulty electric blanket, you may be eligible for personal injury compensation. Call Accident Advice Helpline for advice and assistance in claiming for faulty product compensation on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.
Date Published: February 19, 2014
Author: David Brown