Are electric blankets safe? The dangers you need to know

A child cuddling a teddy in a comfy bed

Nicola Dowse

Posted May 26, 2022

As the mercury drops over winter, electric blankets are a popular option for a toasty sleep. But electric blankets come with risks you need to know.

During the colder months in Victoria, there’s nothing worse than jumping into bed on a frosty night, only to be greeted by icy-cold sheets.

Thousands of Victorian households dig out their electric blankets every winter to ensure a toasty sleep, but the common household appliance isn’t without its risks. 

That doesn’t have to mean trading your electric blanket for a long, cold winter of discontent.  

How safe are electric blankets?

Modern electric blankets that are in good working order are generally quite safe. It’s only when they get worn-out or break that they pose a safety risk. 

Energy Safe Victoria Commissioner and Chairperson, Marnie Williams, says “damaged electric blankets can result in fire, electric shock, electrocution, power disruptions, and product failure.”

Like any consumer product, electric blankets are also subject to safety regulations under the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).  

The commission identifies products that can cause injury or death, and issues product recalls when an item is found not to meet the commission’s standards. 

A number of electric blankets have been recalled over the years, which you can check via the ACCC’s website.

If your model of electric blanket is on the recall list, you should stop using it immediately, and return it to the place of purchase for a refund.


A hand using an electric blanket switch

It's advised that you check your electric blanket, including the cord and controls, every year before winter. Photo: Getty.

Using your electric blanket safely 

Energy Safe Victoria recommends checking your electric blanket annually to ensure it’s in safe working order.  

You can do this by placing it flat on your bed then checking that there are no creases, kinks or broken heating wires in the blanket, and the controller plugs cords are in good condition.  

If you find damage, the blanket should not be used by you, or anyone again. For that reason, the best thing you can do is unplug the blanket and cut the power cord to put it out of commission for good. 

While it can be tempting on freezing nights, Fire Rescue Victoria also advises you don’t leave electric blankets on while sleeping.  

FRV deputy commissioner, Michelle Young, says that “while the dangers of fire are very real, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself, your family and your home. People should always ensure that they turn off electric blankets prior to getting into bed.” 

Other safety measures include obeying all manufacturer’s instructions that came with your blanket, never buying electric blankets second-hand, fitting your blanket flat and tight on across your bed, and not storing it under heavy items (which can damage wires). 

Are electric blankets safe for children?  

Children in particular are prone to allergies and asthma, which means having quilts and doonas filled with down and feathers not an option on the chilly nights.  

While an electric blanket is an appealing option to help your little ones get a cosy night’s sleep, make sure you take all the proper precautions before putting one on their bed.  

Modern electric blankets are generally safe for use for children of bed-wetting age as they come protected with plastic coverings over wires. However, as electric blankets are usually stored for long periods of time over the warmer months, this can lead to degeneration of the wiring – so even if you have bought one recently, make sure you check it for damage before using.  

Parents are also advised to make sure that the power outlet is far enough away from the bed to ensure any liquids cants travel the length of the cord and cause outages.  

For parents of young children who are known for deep sleeping, make sure the electric blanket is turned off before going to sleep to avoid over-heating during the night. While burns or harm of that nature are very unlikely, dehydration and overheating are potential risks.  

Electric blankets are not recommended for babies as well-fitted sleeping bags with the correct TOG rating will ensure a warm night sleep for your bub. 

Other ways to keep warm 

If electric blankets aren’t for you, there are other ways to stay warm while sleeping. 

You wouldn’t wear your summer clothes in winter, so make sure you’re not relying on your summer bedding to keep you warm in the colder months.  

Flannel and fleece are two materials known for their ability to insulate and trap body heat and can be purchased as throw blankets, top sheets, fitted sheets, quilt covers, pillow cases and pyjamas. 

Hot water bottles are another method of keeping toasty in bed, but they’ve a few safety precautions to be aware of too. 

Don’t use freshly boiled water to fill the bottle – let the water stand for a few minutes after boiling before filling no more than two-thirds full. You should also consider a cover for the bottle (or wrap it in a clean tea towel) to avoid direct bodily contact with the heat.

RACV Contents Insurance can help safeguard you from financial loss. 
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The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.​