Using an Electric Blanket
Electric blankets shouldn’t be used on infants or young children’s beds. They just don’t have the foresight and knowledge to use them correctly. Likewise anyone who is disabled, unable to gauge the intensity of the heat generated or anyone who is unable to control the settings intelligently should not be allowed to use them.
Always turn the blanket/pad off when not in use. An electric blanket should last between 5 to 10 years but always check them at the beginning of winter before you use them again. Check for any discoloration above or below as this could indicate a problem with the heating wires. Make sure the wires are not touching by holding the blanket up to the light. As electric blankets become older and the wires become frayed there is a risk of overheating.
Don’t tuck electric blankets under the mattress or anything else for that matter. Bending the wires could damage them and cause overheating. It is also highly recommended that electric blankets that are ten years or older should be replaced with a new blanket urgently. When storing electric blankets during summer roll the blanket up very lightly or, if possible, store them laid out flat.
Who Shouldn’t Use Electric Blankets
Some people who suffer from diabetes lose feeling in their limbs and should therefore be very careful when using these appliances. They may not be able to feel excessive heat and should therefore be very careful when using them. With pregnant women it is fine to preheat the bed but rather switch off and unplug the blanket when retiring.
There are varying opinions about using electric bedding when pregnant. There is still the ongoing debate about Electric Magnetic Fields (EMF’s) and also the effect a higher than normal temperature could have on the fetus. Rather err on the side of caution and don’t take the chance. It is fine to preheat the bed before retiring but when retiring, unplug the blanket completely instead of just switching it off.
People who have pacemakers should first contact the manufacturer of their particular pacemaker and inquire as to the safety of using an electric blanket, mattress pad or electric throws.
Electric Blankets and Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF’s) – Safe or Not?
There is still an ongoing debate as to whether EMF’s pose any kind of health hazard. There have been numerous studies done and the US National Research Council has spent millions in research trying to determine whether people’s concerns were valid or not. They finally stated that they were incapable of finding any definitive evidence that EMF’s caused problems of any kind. Nevertheless the concerns remain and it is a decision that you as an individual have to make.
All blankets manufactured after 1992 have significantly lower EMF outputs than those made prior to 1992. A couple of major manufacturers today create electric blankets that convert your everyday 120 Volt AC into a low voltage DC current ranging from 16 to 19 Volt. This radically reduces the amount of EMF’s produced.
Check that the product you are about to buy has the UL or ETL Certification
Always buy an electric blanket/ mattress pad or electric throw that bears the UL or ETL certification mark. These marks certify that the makers have adhered to strict codes concerning the manufacture of their products. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) developed a set of electric bedding safety regulations for the US and ETL is the other mark of certification you should look out for as they certify products to the same UL standard.