Can Using an Electric Blanket Burn You While You Sleep?

Everyone loves to snuggle up in a nice heated blanket at the end of the day. There’s nothing like that feeling of warmth and comfort. But there’s one main concern:  Is it safe to use a heated blanket? Could it burn you while you sleep?

Electric blankets can cause burns if you misuse them or experience a faulty connection. Sometimes, these burns aren’t felt until you wake up, so you should be extra careful when using an electric blanket. They also come with other dangers such as health problems and risks of causing fires.

If you’re still unsure whether an electric blanket is a safe option for you, read on. We’ll take a look at electric blanket usage, how they can cause burns, what other potential risks exist, and how to take precautionary measures to avoid having any issues.

Can an Electric Blanket Burn You?

Young woman sleeping on electric heating pad in bed at night

Yes, electric blankets can indeed burn you. There have been many cases of burns from electric blankets, mostly due to improper use.

Most people use heating blankets for special events, camping, or just really cold nights at home. However, even though electric blankets are a great item in your home, they cause dangers, especially during winter.  

The burns arise from the blanket overheating, despite it having a thermostat. Burns may also occur due to improper handling or the blanket is too old and no longer functions properly.

There are also cases of people with poor blood circulation and other nerve problems being at a higher risk of burns.

How Do You Treat an Electric Blanket Burn?

The good news is that burns from electric blankets are not severe in most cases and can be treated easily at home. However, there are instances where you may require urgent medical attention.

For minor burns, here’s what you should do:

  • Make sure you’re not at more risk for more burns. You should remove any jewelry and clothes that can increase the likelihood of more burns.
  • Place the body part where the burn occurred under cool running water for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  • Cover the burn with a sterile, dry dressing and take anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers.

You should, however, seek medical attention if:

  • The burn is on the face or groin, or if it’s larger than an ordinary coin
  • The burn looks infected or deep.
  • The burns are on a child.

Avoid using ice, toothpaste, or other unauthorized substances to soothe the pain.

Other Dangers of Electric Blankets

While electric blankets can undoubtedly be very comfortable and warm, they also pose other dangers apart from burns. It would help if you therefore observed caution before and while using one. Let’s review some of the risks:

1. They Are Sources of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)

Electric blankets emit electromagnetic fields that can pose a danger to you and your family. Although there isn’t a conclusive study on it, researchers suggest that there’s a health hazard to prolonged exposure to EMF radiation.

Additionally, there is some evidence that electromagnetic fields from the blanket may negatively affect pacemakers if you have one.

2. Danger to Pets and Children

Pets tend to have sharp claws that can pierce the blanket itself. Children might also consider the warm blanket as a toy and try to use it as a heater for their dolls and stuffed animals.

This practice is not recommended at all, as it can result in burns — primarily if used without supervision.

3. They Can Cause Fires

Electric blankets can cause fires when they overheat. This is mostly due to faulty connections.

4. Health Risks

Electric blankets pose a health risk because many people don’t always keep them as clean as regular bedding. Most people use their electric blankets for extended periods throughout the winter months. They also leave them on overnight, which then causes the blankets to accumulate germs more quickly than common sheets and comforters.

Electric blankets have been associated with an increased risk of cancer, miscarriages, and high risks of burns if you have diabetes.

Electric Blanket Safety Precautions

Bed with electric heating pad indoors at night

Just like any other electrical appliance, there are precautions that you should consider when using an electric blanket (on Amazon). However, the most important safety measure is to use the blanket as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Other measures that can help you avoid electric blanket burns include:

  • Keep the cords away from pets & children.
  • Don’t use an electric blanket if you’re weak due to an illness or alcohol consumption.
  • Never use an old blanket, especially those over ten years old.
  • Use the blanket as instructed. Never place anything on the blanket unless it’s made explicitly for that purpose.
  • Keep the cords where they are visible.
  • Never twist, turn or tug the cords, as this increases the chance of tearing and ripping. You should fold them loosely and avoid any sharp folds.
  • Keep a working smoke detector (on Amazon) in your home for easy detection if the blanket leads to a fire outbreak.
  • Store the blanket in a storage bag when not in use.
  • Follow the proper and recommended methods for cleaning the blanket.
  • Always disconnect the cords when not in use.
  • Preheat the bed about one hour before sleep and turn it off when you sleep. This will help you avoid the danger of dozing off and leaving it on throughout the night.
  • Check the safety recall batch to ensure the product is authorized to be on the market.
  • Purchase an electric blanket with an auto-shut-off feature.

Just because electric blankets cause burns doesn’t mean they are too dangerous to use. Many people use electric blankets for years without issue. If you follow all instructions from the manufacturer and our tips for proper usage, you should be good to go.