Hampshire Trading Standards

Consumer Safety

Electric Blanket Safety

This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to consumers. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

Every year there are about 1,000 fires caused by faulty electric blankets when around 20 people die and 250 are injured. Recent checks in Hampshire have found that 40% of blankets being used are unsafe.

Almost all blanket fires are are probably caused by blankets over 10 years old. If your blanket is over 10 years old, we suggest you replace it with a new one.

Buying an electic blanket

  • Ensure that it carries a recognised approvals mark, such as the British Electrotechnical Approvals Board (BEAB) mark, or the International Standard number EN 60967. It will be CE marked.
  • There are different types of electric blankets including underblankets and overblankets, pre-heating blankets and all-night blankets. Check what is best for you. Pre-heating blankets are designed to pre-heat the bed and must be switched off or disconnected whilst the bed is occupied. All-night blankets have controls that allow safe all-night use.
  • Don't buy or use a second hand electric blanket.

Using an electric blanket

  • Read the instructions and use the blanket correctly.
  • Check the blanket is not scorched, soiled or wet.
  • Do not use underblankets on top of the bed covers (ie. above the occupant of the bed).
  • Make sure it is laid flat as folds or creases can damage the internal wiring and cause overheating.
  • Make sure the lead and controller switch of underblankets are hanging freely and not caught up in the blanket or damaged, and the blanket is securely fitted to the bed.
  • Switch off or unplug pre-heating underblankets before you get into bed.

Looking after your electric blanket

  • Have your blanket inspected by the manufacturer or qualified electrician in accordance with their instructions. They usually recommend inspections every three years.
  • Only wash or clean your blanket in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Check the blanket frequently for detached tie tapes, frayed edges, scorch marks and loose electrical connections.
  • Phone the manufacturer to see if they carry out tests, and how much a test would cost, it is sometimes cheaper to buy a replacement periodically.