How safe is your electric blanket?

Oxfordshire residents are being offered free electric blanket checks to help them stay safe and warm this autumn.

Last year, Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards tested 800 blankets; nearly a quarter failed to meet the safety standard.

In response, Trading Standards is teaming up with Oxfordshire Council Fire and Rescue Service and district councils to highlight the dangers associated with faulty blankets.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, the county council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “It’s extremely worrying that so many electric blankets have failed the recent safety checks.

“A faulty or damaged blanket could result in a fire or electrocution. Free advice and a safety check, which only takes five minutes, really could save lives.”

The tester will do a visual check – checking for signs of wear and tear and any scorch marks. They then test the controller to ensure the correct amount of electricity is passing through the blanket.

Checks are made for any breaks in the blanket’s wiring, date of manufacture, and if it has over-heat protection. The plug is also inspected.

The free electric blanket checks will be taking place in the following locations during October:

Oxford (Monday 01 and 15 October)

Banbury (Tuesday 02 October)

Thame (Wednesday 03 October)

Witney (Thursday 04 October)

Abingdon (Friday 05 October)

Bicester (Tuesday 16 October)

Didcot (Wednesday 17 October)

Chipping Norton (Thursday 18 October)

Wantage Friday 19 October)

To pre-book an electric blanket safety check, phone 01865 898642 or email communityengagement@oxfordshire.gov.uk


What the electric blanket safety check involves:

The tester will discuss simple steps for purchasing, using, storing and disposing of electric blankets. Residents are encouraged to:

  • read and follow the manufacturer's instructions before use
  • examine the blanket regularly for signs of wear or damage
  • use the blanket only for the purpose the manufacturer intended
  • check the manufacturer's instructions for suitability to wash the blanket
  • carry out a visual check of the blanket to make sure there is no visible signs of damage caused in transport when first purchased.

And advised not to:

  • use the blanket whilst it is still folded, rucked or creased
  • use a hot water bottle at the same time as using the electric blanket
  • touch the blanket with wet hands or feet
  • insert or use pins to hold the blanket in place on the bed
  • use the under-blankets on adjustable beds, or if used on an adjustable bed, check that the blanket and cord do not become trapped, for example in hinges
  • use an electric blanket on the bed of a helpless person, an infant or a person who may have a condition that makes them insensitive to heat
  • allow the appliance to be used by young children, unless the controls have been pre-set by a parent or carer