How Safe Are Electric Blankets?

Last Updated On January 26th, 2024
How Safe Are Electric Blankets?

Key Takeaways

  • Electric Blanket Safety Features: Electric blankets are designed with crucial safety features. These features include temperature control to prevent burns or discomfort, auto-off timers for energy conservation and peace of mind, and compliance with safety standards, with protected heating elements and clear usage instructions.
  • Proper Usage Guidelines: Following proper usage guidelines is essential to prevent accidents when using electric blankets. Users should control the temperature according to the manufacturer’s instructions, avoid overheating by turning the blanket off when not in use, and regularly check for damaged wires. Proper handling, including avoiding folding or bunching during use, helps maintain the blanket’s safety and longevity.
  • Comparing Heating Options: While electric blankets provide warmth, it’s essential to consider alternative heating options like heating pads, heated mattress pads, and traditional blankets. Each option comes with its safety considerations, and users should weigh these factors based on individual preferences and needs.

As temperatures drop, electric blankets offer a cozy and comfortable way to stay warm throughout the night. However, many may wonder about the safety of electric blankets. Are they safe to use? What are the potential risks associated with them?

In this article, we will explore electric blanket safety and provide tips on using them responsibly. By following our electric blanket safety tips, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of your heated blanket without compromising your safety.

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Understanding Electric Blankets and Their Safety Features

Electric blankets can provide the perfect warmth on chilly nights, but safety should always be a top priority. That’s why modern electric blankets are designed with safety features to mitigate risks and keep you safe.

Temperature control is an essential safety feature in electric blankets. It is critical to regulate the heat so that it is not too hot, which can cause burns, or too cold, which can cause discomfort. Some electric blankets even have an auto-off timer that turns them off after a certain period, giving you peace of mind and conserving energy.

Another feature that ensures electric blanket safety is the electrical appliance’s construction, which should meet safety standards from recognized regulatory organizations. For instance, the heating elements must be well-protected and not exposed directly to humans. Additionally, manufacturers should include safety labels, instructions, and warnings, stating when and how to use the blanket.

Read more about fire safety in the bedroom.

How do electric blankets work?

Electric blankets use heating elements to produce warmth. When you turn on the electric blanket, an electrical circuit is completed with these heating elements, and they start warming up. This warmth is then evenly distributed throughout the blanket, keeping you comfortable and cozy.

Modern electric blankets have come a long way, with many innovations ensuring your safety and comfort. Understanding these features can help you purchase, use, and enjoy electric blankets safely and warmly.

Proper Use of Electric Blankets for Safety

Using an electric blanket can offer you the warmth and comfort you need during cold nights. However, to prevent accidents, it’s important to follow safety guidelines when using them. Here are some tips for proper use:

Control the Temperature

Make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to control the temperature of your electric blanket. Avoid using high settings for extended periods and don’t use your electric blanket to warm a cold bed.

Avoid Overheating

Turning off your electric blanket when you’re not using it can help prevent overheating. Always unplug your electric blanket before leaving it unattended and avoid folding or ruffling it during use, as this can cause it to overheat.

Check for Damaged Wires

Before using your electric blanket, make sure to check for any damaged wires or other defects. If there are any signs of fraying or discoloration, do not use the blanket and consider replacing it with a newer model.

Assessing the Safety of Electric Blankets: Risks and Precautions

Even though electric blankets provide comforting warmth, they come with some potential safety risks. When not used correctly, these blankets can be hazardous and compromise your safety. Here are some of the major risks associated with electric blankets:

Electric Blankets Bad: Fire Hazard

Electric blankets that are old or damaged pose a fire risk. The wiring inside the blanket may break with regular use, and sparks could start a fire. Additionally, placing other items on top of an electric blanket, such as a pillow or another blanket, can cause the blanket to overheat and ignite.

Electric Blankets and Electromagnetic Fields

There are concerns about electromagnetic fields and their exposure near your body. However, there isn’t much evidence suggesting that electric blankets are problematic in this regard.

Fall Asleep with Electric Blankets

It’s recommended to turn the electric blanket off before going to sleep, or if the blanket is designed to be left on overnight, keep it in a low-temperature setting. Furthermore, you should avoid sleeping with a heating pad or hot water bottle, as they may overheat and cause burns.

Electric Blanket Safety Risks: Potential Risks if Used Improperly

Misusing an electric blanket, such as folding, twisting, or bunching it up, can damage the wiring inside the blanket and pose a threat to safety. In any case, it’s crucial to inspect your electric blanket before and after using it, ensuring that there are no visible signs of wear and tear.

Electric Blanket Safety for Different Demographics

As we age, our bodies become more sensitive and vulnerable to extreme temperatures. That’s why it’s essential to pay attention to electric blanket safety guidelines, especially if you’re an older adult. If you’re using an older electric blanket model, there are some unique safety considerations to keep in mind.

To ensure electric blanket safety for older adults, begin by selecting a newer model that has passed the current safety standards. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using it. Remember to avoid overheating and to keep the temperature at a comfortable level.

Electric Blankets vs. Other Heating Options: Comparing Safety

When it comes to staying warm, electric blankets are not your only option. Other viable options include heating pads, heated mattress pads, traditional blankets, and hot water bottles. However, before deciding which heating option is best for you, it’s worth considering their respective safety risks.

Heating Pads

Heating pads are a popular means of applying heat to localized areas of the body, such as the lower back, neck, or joints, as part of heat therapy. Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source Compared to electric blankets, heating pads generally come with fewer safety risks.

Nonetheless, they can cause burns or overheating, particularly if used improperly or left in place for too long. It is vital to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using heating pads and not leave them unsupervised while in use.

Heated Mattress Pad

If you’re looking for full-body warmth, a heated mattress pad may be a viable option. Similar to electric blankets, most heated mattress pads feature temperature controls and automatic shut-off switches for added safety.

However, if used improperly, they can pose the same safety risks as electric blankets. If you invest in a heated mattress pad, take the time to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure safe usage.

Experts also typically advise against using heated mattress pads and electric blankets concurrently. So remember to choose either one or the other and not both.

Traditional Blankets

Traditional blankets are typically made of materials such as wool, cotton, or fleece. The versatility of traditional blankets lies in their ability to adapt to different preferences and climates, ranging from lightweight options for warmer weather to thicker, heavier choices for colder seasons.

Blankets come in various sizes and are easily washable, durable, and come in an array of styles and patterns to suit individual tastes.

While they don’t have any electrical components, blankets can still pose safety risks if used improperly. For example, if a traditional blanket is placed too close to a fire or another source of heat, it can catch fire.

Still, you can layer many blankets to stay warm at night or use one in bed with a flat top sheet.


Quilts offer a charming and artisanal alternative to electric blankets, combining warmth with a touch of craftsmanship. These bed coverings consist of layers of fabric stitched together, often with intricate patterns and designs. Their construction typically involves a top layer of decorative fabric, a middle layer of batting for insulation, and a bottom layer for added durability.

Quilts provide excellent insulation, making them an effective choice for staying warm in bed without the need for electricity.

Duvets and Comforters

Duvets are soft, flat bedding filled with down, feathers, or synthetic fibers, providing a plush and cozy layer on top of the bed.

Comforters, on the other hand, are thick, quilted blankets filled with insulating material, offering both warmth and decorative appeal.

Both duvets and comforters provide a luxurious and insulated sleeping experience, catering to various temperature preferences. Unlike electric blankets, these traditional bedding options do not require a power source.

With a wide range of styles, materials, and thickness options, duvets and comforters offer versatility and can be easily layered for added warmth during colder seasons. To maintain them between cleanings, you can also use a duvet cover.

How Can I Check My Electric Blanket?

Checking the condition of your electric blanket is essential for ensuring its continued safety and functionality. By regularly conducting these checks and promptly addressing any issues, you can ensure that your electric blanket remains in good condition, providing warmth safely and effectively.

Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Visual Inspection

Begin by visually examining the entire blanket. Look for any signs of fraying, worn areas, or exposed wires. If you notice any of these issues, it’s crucial to address them promptly to prevent safety hazards.

Check Electrical Components

Examine the power cord, plug, and controller for any damage. Ensure that the connectors are intact and that there are no bent or broken prongs. If you observe any issues with the electrical components, refrain from using the blanket until repairs are made.

Plug and Unplug Safely

When plugging or unplugging the blanket, do so carefully. Avoid pulling on the cord directly, as this can stress the connections. Gently grasp the plug and insert or remove it from the outlet to prevent damage to the cord or electrical components.

Test Heating Levels

Turn on the electric blanket and cycle through its various heat settings. Ensure that each setting functions properly, and the blanket heats up evenly. If you detect any inconsistencies or if certain areas become excessively hot, discontinue use and consult the manufacturer.

Auto-Off Feature Test

If your electric blanket has an auto-off feature, test it to verify that the blanket turns off automatically after the designated period. This safety feature prevents overheating and conserves energy.

Flexibility Check

Gently flex and fold the blanket while it’s off to check for any unusual stiffness or resistance. A flexible and pliable blanket is less likely to have internal wiring issues. If you notice any stiffness or resistance, it may indicate damage to the internal components.

Smell Check

During use, pay attention to any unusual smells, especially burning odors. If you detect a burning smell, immediately turn off and unplug the blanket, as this could indicate a potential fire hazard. Contact the manufacturer for guidance on further inspection or repairs.

Follow Manufacturer Guidelines

Always adhere to the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions. Improper cleaning methods can damage the internal wiring. If in doubt, refer to the user manual or contact the manufacturer for specific guidance.

Storing and Maintaining Your Electric Blanket for Longevity

Proper storage and maintenance are key to ensuring the longevity and safety of your electric blanket. Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind:

How to Store Your Electric Blanket

When storing your electric blanket, make sure to fold it neatly and place it in a dry, cool location. Avoid leaving it in direct sunlight or a humid environment, as this can damage the electrical components of the blanket.

It’s also best to avoid storing anything on top of the blanket, as this can crush the heating elements and wires inside. Instead, place the blanket on a shelf or in a drawer by itself.

Safety Guidelines for Electric Blanket Maintenance

Take care not to stretch the wires or heating elements when folding or unfolding the blanket, as this can cause them to detach or become damaged. If you notice any issues with your blanket, such as overheating or uneven heating, stop using it immediately and have it repaired or replaced.

Cleaning an Electric Blanket

Before cleaning an electric blanket, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions, as specific guidelines may vary. In general, most electric blankets are machine washable, but it’s crucial to detach the controller and any other electrical components before laundering. Use a gentle cycle with mild detergent, and avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals.

If machine washing is not recommended, spot clean the blanket with a damp cloth. Once cleaned, allow the blanket to air dry completely before reconnecting the electrical components. Never wring or twist the blanket excessively, as this can damage the internal wiring.


Is it safe to sleep with an electric blanket on?

Yes, it is generally safe to sleep with an electric blanket on, provided you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety instructions. Modern electric blankets are designed with safety features such as auto-shutoff mechanisms and adjustable temperature controls.

It’s crucial to inspect the blanket for any signs of wear or damage before use, and if you have safety concerns, consult the product manual or contact the manufacturer.

When should you not use an electric blanket?

Avoid using an electric blanket if it is damaged, has exposed wires, or shows signs of wear and tear. It’s not recommended for infants and very young children, and individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or nerve damage, should consult with a healthcare professional before using an electric blanket. Pregnant women can use it with caution and should avoid excessive heat.

Additionally, individuals who have difficulty operating the controls or communicating their discomfort should refrain from using electric blankets.

What is a safe alternative to an electric blanket?

A safe alternative to an electric blanket is a good-quality, well-insulated regular blanket or comforter. Layering blankets can provide warmth without the need for electricity. Alternatively, heated mattress pads or throws that adhere to safety standards can offer controlled warmth without the direct contact associated with electric blankets.

For those seeking warmth in bed, options like fleece and flannel sheets, thermal blankets, or down comforters can provide cozy alternatives without the need for electrical components.

Can I put a comforter on top of an electric blanket?

Yes, you can put a comforter on top of an electric blanket, but it’s essential to ensure that the electric blanket is spread evenly beneath the comforter. Avoid folding or bunching the electric blanket, as this may lead to overheating. Make sure the comforter is breathable and not too heavy, as excessive weight may trap heat and affect the performance of the electric blanket.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for layering and usage to maintain both comfort and safety. For maximum caution, we must note that some experts advise against a second blanket or comfort on top of an electric blanket.

Are electric blankets safe for the elderly?

Electric blankets can be safe for the elderly when used properly. They can provide warmth and comfort, particularly for individuals who may have difficulty regulating their body temperature. However, it’s crucial to monitor the elderly user and ensure they can operate the controls safely.

Additionally, electric blankets with safety features like automatic shutoff and adjustable heat settings are preferable. Consult with a healthcare professional if there are concerns about the elderly person’s ability to use the blanket safely.

Is an electric blanket safe for a child?

Electric blankets are generally not recommended for use with infants or very young children. The risk of overheating and the inability of young children to communicate discomfort pose safety concerns.

For older children, it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s age recommendations and ensure that the child can understand and use the controls safely. Always supervise the use of an electric blanket with children, and avoid using it throughout the night. Keeping children warm with other methods, such as layering blankets or using heated mattress pads with proper safety features, may be a safer choice.


Now that you have learned about the potential risks and safety features of electric blankets, you can enjoy their warmth and comfort without any worries.

Remember to always follow the safety guidelines, control the temperature, and avoid overheating. Make sure to inspect the wires inside the blanket and store and maintain it properly to prevent any safety hazards.

By taking proper precautions and understanding the potential risks, you can safely enjoy the benefits of electric blankets and stay warm and cozy throughout the night. Sweet dreams!

About the author

April Mayer is a sleep expert and writer with a degree in exercise physiology. She has dedicated her career to exploring the relationship between sleep and productivity. Her insightful articles, such as "The Surprising Way Your Mood Might Be Messing With Your Productivity" and "Wake Up to More Productive Mornings," have been featured in reputable publications like Forbes, Greatist, Real Homes, Thrillist, Tom's Guide, and Eat This, Not That. With a passion for helping others lead more productive lives through restful sleep, April offers valuable expertise on foods and vitamins for better sleep. As a trusted member of the Early Bird team since March 2020, she continues to provide informative and well-researched content.

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