Can You Sleep With an Electric Blanket on All Night?

There’s nothing like snuggling under a warm, cozy electric blanket on a chilly winter night. But for how long should you leave the electric blanket on? Is it safe to sleep with an electric blanket for the whole night? 

You shouldn’t sleep with an electric blanket on the whole night since it can result in overheating and potential burns or even fires. Leaving an electric blanket on for too long can also cause heat stroke and other health problems.

The risks of overheating or fires caused by electric blankets are quite low, and shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the comfort of a heated blanket. You can minimize the risks by following the proper usage and storage guidelines. Let’s take a look at how to safely use an electric blanket.

Is It Safe to Sleep With an Electric Blanket On?

Young woman sleeping on electric heating pad in bed at night

While you can technically leave an electric blanket on all night, it’s not safe to do so. Sleeping with an electric blanket on poses several risks and may be harmful to your health. Medical professionals recommend that you disconnect the electric blanket before going to sleep. 

There’s a lower risk of sleeping with certain electric blankets. Avoid using electric blankets that are more than ten years old. These blankets have fewer safety features and are most likely to short circuit. The fabric may also wear out over time, exposing the wires and potentially causing burns. 

Newer electric blankets have more safety features, such as auto temperature adjustment sensors that will switch the blanket off when it reaches a certain temperature. Other electric blankets have timers that you can set before sleeping. Also, cordless electric blankets are safer than those that need to be plugged into an electric socket. 

Some people should completely avoid sleeping with electric blankets. Electric blankets pose a greater danger to the elderly, pregnant women, and children.

There’s no harm in heating up the bed with an electric blanket. However, sleeping with an electric blanket on the whole night is risky. 

What Happens if You Leave an Electric Blanket on for Too Long?

Electric heating blanket pad bed

Leaving an electric blanket on for too long can increase the risk of fires, burns, or heat stroke, as well as birth defects. However, not all electric blankets carry the same risk. Older or damaged electric blankets are the most dangerous and should be avoided. 

Here are some of the primary risks of leaving an electric blanket on for too long:  

Burns

Leaving an electric blanket on for too long may cause it to overheat, resulting in burns or heat stroke. Not all electric blankets have the same safety features, and older ones are more susceptible to overheating. Short circuits caused by damaged wires may also cause the blanket to overheat. 

If the electric blanket’s fabric is still in good condition, you shouldn’t get burnt, even if the blanket overheats. However, if exposed wires come into contact with your skin, it could result in severe burns. 

Placing too many covers over an electric blanket also causes overheating. If you sleep with the blanket on the whole night, you may suffer from heatstroke or dehydration.

The latest electric blankets have temperature control systems that switch off automatically when the blanket overheats. This greatly reduces the risk of burns. 

Fires 

Electric fires are one of the most common causes of home accidents and may be caused by short circuits, faulty wiring, and household appliances. Electric blankets pose a risk of causing electric fires, especially if the blanket is old or the wires are exposed. Forgetting to turn the blanket off also increases the risk of electric fires. 

The vast majority of fires caused by electric blankets are with blankets that are older than 10 years. These blankets are more likely to have exposed wires since the fabric wears away over time. Older blankets also lack many temperature control settings, making them more prone to overheating. 

However, even with older blankets, the risk of an electric fire is quite low. If you follow the basic safety tips when using electric blankets, it’s unlikely that your blanket will burn your house down! 

Birth Defects 

Pregnant women should avoid using electric blankets for too long as it may cause birth defects. The blanket itself it’s inherently an issue, but excessive heat focused on the abdominal area can affect the fetus. 

Besides the heat, electric blankets may also cause shocks and burns, which can affect fetus development. 

While the chance of birth defects caused by electric blankets is rare, pregnant women should avoid using an electric blanket or heating pad for more than 30 minutes. 

How Often Do Electric Blankets Catch on Fire?

Electric Blanket On Bed

If you’re worried that an electric blanket is going to be a fire hazard, there’s really no need for concern. Electric blankets are highly unlikely to catch fire and only make up 0.04% of all the home fires caused yearly. 

Considering that 99% of all those fires are caused by blankets older than 10 years, there’s a 1 in a million chance that an electric blanket less than 10 years old will ever catch fire. And if we take the average number of home fires caused yearly, only 150 of 360,000 fires are caused by electric blankets. 

So, unless you have a faulty, old, or damaged electric blanket, there’s no need to worry about your house catching fire. 

How to Use Electric Blankets: Safety Tips

Most electric blanket problems are caused by improper use. If you follow the correct usage instructions and store the blanket properly, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever suffer from the risks associated with electric blankets. 

Here are some professional electric blanket safety tips to follow at all times: 

  • Don’t Overuse the Blanket 

Electric blankets are designed to warm up a bed and retain heat throughout the night. Underblankets and heating pads are less likely to overheat, but even these should be turned off during the night. Overuse is the number one cause of burns and heat stroke from electric blankets. 

Always set a specific time frame for using an electric blanket. Experts recommend using the blanket for 20-30 minutes to warm up the bed before you go to sleep. Try to get an electric blanket with a timer setting that automatically turns the blanket off after a specific duration, like this one (on Amazon)

  • Don’t Use the Blanket Under Covers

Using an electric overblanket under a layer of covers may cause the blanket to overheat. Unless it’s a heating pad, the electric blanket should be placed on top of the covers. If you want to cover the blanket, use a thin sheet to avoid overheating. 

  • Always Check the Blanket Before Use

Most electric blanket problems can be avoided by simply inspecting the blanket before using it. Look for exposed wires or places that are overheating. Never use a damp blanket as this could lead to electric shocks. Also, make sure the blanket’s shape is correct and there are no loose ends that may indicate faulty wires. 

  • Store the Blanket Properly 

Never store an electric blanket the same way you would a regular blanket. Always roll the blanket instead of folding it and avoid placing it under heavy objects. Also, inspect your blanket carefully when taking it out at the start of winter since most blankets will get damaged in storage. 

  • Don’t Use Low-Quality Electric Blankets

To minimize the risk of burns and fires, always use top-quality electric blankets. Avoid using an electric blanket for more than 10 years, even if it’s still in good condition. Also, avoid using second-hand electric blankets since they are more likely to have defects. 

The best electric blankets also have more safety features, such as automatic temperature control and overheat prevention; these features make them much less risky. 

  • Use Alternative Heating Options 

Electric blankets aren’t the only way to stay warm in the winter. Proper home insulation and an effective heating system will keep your home warm and cozy, so that you don’t always feel the need for an electric blanket. You can also get covers and blankets with better heat retention for maintaining natural warmth. 

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