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The Inside Scoop on Electric Blanket Safety

The Inside Scoop on Electric Blanket Safety

Between staying comfortable and staying in budget, winter can wreak havoc on your priorities. Ultimately, saving money doesn’t always win out, especially if icicles start to form on the ends of your toes while you’re trying to sleep. Electric blankets and electric mattress pads can help bridge the gap and keep you toasty in bed when you turn down your heat for the evening.

Even if you’ve been using an electric blanket or mattress pad for years to save a few bucks when it’s cold at night, you may never have considered some of the most serious questions people ask about electric blanket and mattress pad safety. Before you go out and buy an electric blanket or mattress pad — or before you turn yours on again tonight — you should make sure that using one is a good idea.

The Electric Blanket Institute’s Consumer Guide goal is to be a one-stop source of information on heated blankets and heated mattress pads. You can learn about Heated Blankets and Heated Mattress Pads — safety, health benefits, energy usage, product quality, and features, as well as read product reviews and compare ratings. The five most common questions that the Electric Blanket Institute hears are:

Can anyone use electric blankets and electric mattress pads?

Electric blankets and electric mattress pads are electrical appliances and, as with any electric appliance, things can occasionally go wrong. Maybe a heating control stops working properly or a blanket gets bunched up underneath the folds of your bedding, causing a heater wire to break. Situations like these can cause the blanket to overheat and maybe even burn someone. That’s why it’s important to avoid using electric bedding with infants or small children and anyone who is helpless, paralyzed, insensitive to heat or otherwise incapable of understanding and operating the controls.

Is it okay to use an electric blanket during pregnancy?

Medical websites have different opinions about using electric bedding during pregnancy. Some say “sure,” some say “never” and some say “ask your doctor.” The differing opinions are due to concerns over electromagnetic frequency waves (EMFs) as well as concerns about overheating the fetus. While you could certainly ask your doctor about electric bedding safety during pregnancy, the Institute says that pregnant women should simply play it safe, err on the side of caution and avoid electric bedding. An alternative is to use an electric blanket to pre-warm your bedsheets and then turn it off prior to slipping under the covers.

Is there a concern about electromagnetic frequency waves (EMFs) being emitted by electric bedding?

Electric bedding produces EMFs, or electromagnetic frequency waves, from AC current, which came under scrutiny in the 1980s and 1990s from scientists and others concerned about the electrical fields produced by overhead power lines and some appliances. Some people wondered if the fields contributed to cancer or developmental problems in children.

After studying over 500 peer-reviewed papers and spending $65 million on research, the U.S. Government concluded that there was no conclusive evidence to prove that residential EMFs played any role in the development of medical problems. To help mitigate customers’ concerns, Sunbeam, the only major U.S. manufacturer of electric blankets at the time, started making blankets in 1992 with much weaker EMFs.

Can people with pacemakers use electric blankets?

The American Heart Association and the Mayo Clinic have said that electric bedding doesn’t damage pacemakers or interfere with their function. However, the Institute recommends that people with pacemakers get the green light from their doctors and pacemaker manufacturers before using electric bedding.

Why can’t people with diabetes use electric blankets?

The short answer is no. The problem with diabetes is that it causes people who suffer from the disease to be insensitive to heat in some ways, especially if they lose feeling in their legs or arms, and can’t feel the heat from bedding that’s becoming dangerously hot. If you’re diabetic, your best bet is to pre-heat your bedsheets with an electric blanket and then turn off and remove the blanket from the bed before turning in for the evening.

Saving energy shouldn’t ever be a matter of life or death. Find more energy-saving tips from Spark Energy here.

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