Be mindful of potential hazards when
using electric blankets, heating pads and space heaters.
When used properly and safely, electric blankets
and other heating devices can help keep you toasty during cold winter
months. Here are a few safety tips for electric blankets and heating
pads to keep in mind:
Purchase items only if they have been
approved by an independent testing facility, such as
Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Inspect all cords and connections for
cracks and frayed edges, which are a huge fire and injury
hazard. Replace all electric blankets and heating pads that
have faulty cords.
Discard your electric blanket or
heating pad if you see dark or charred spots on the surface.
Do not put another cover on top of an
electric blanket unless the safety instructions included in
the packaging specifically state itís safe to do so. Some
newer models protect against overheating.
Once your electric blanket or heating
pad is switched on, keep it laid flat ó a folded device can
cause a fire, as can a blanket thatís been tucked in (which
can bend wires).
Never use heated bedding while asleep ó
look for a model with a timer that switches off
If you choose to use a space heater to supplement
your homeís heating system, some of the same rules of thumb apply,
including purchasing a safety-certified model and reading the included
safety instructions. More tips for space heaters:
Keep units 3 ft. away from combustible
materials ó such as bedding, drapes, clothes, and rugs.
Space heaters also have parts that can spark, so avoid using
them in areas where you store flammable liquids like
kerosene and gasoline.
In general, plugging space heaters directly into
a wall outlet is best. If you must use an extension cord,
make sure itís the correct type and boasts the right
wire-gauge size for your particular space heater. Otherwise,
use a wall socket that can handle the load.
Check safety instructions before using
a space heater around water ó some models are not intended
for use in bathrooms.
Be sure children are supervised around
space heaters. Curious exploration can lead to electrical
shock and burns.
Finally, unplug and store the space
heater in a safe place when youíre not using it.