Electric Blanket Fire Lawyer
Children are far too often injured or killed in accidents involving defective products. In 2018 alone, more than 10,000 electric blankets, heating pads and throws were recalled due to burn risks and fire hazards. Many people use electric blankets to keep themselves and their loved ones ward during cold spells, but when a manufacturer designs a defective electric blanket, property damage, serious injuries—including burns, shock, electrocution and wrongful death have occurred.
Children are at an increased risk of sustaining burn injuries due to faulty and defective electric blankets and heat pads. Infants in particular are at risk because they lack the cognitive senses to detect a dangerous increase of heat.
Electric blankets cause about 5,000 house fires per year in the US, resulting in dozens of injuries and even death. When a fire destroys property and causes injury because of a manufacturer defect or a failure of the manufacturer to provide clear warnings about the product’s use, the victim is entitled to compensation. Child injury attorney Jeffrey Killino can help you hold those responsible if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident as a result of someone’s negligence or a defective electric blanket.
If you are going to use an electric blanket, heating throw or heating pad, you should know how to keep safe.
Heating Pad Fires
Heating pad fires don’t just occur at home; they also occur in hospitals and nursing homes. The Consumer Product Safety Commission releases an annual report on heating pads to emphasize the potential hazards of this everyday household item. The British Journal of Anaesthesia reported that three children suffered burns caused by an electric heating pad in hospital. (It is standard practice to use heating devices during all anaesthetics.)
Why Electric Blankets are Dangerous
Electric blankets contain heating coils wrapped in insulated wires. The wires heat up when the blanket is plugged into an electrical outlet. Like space heaters, defectively designed electric blankets pose thermal burn and fire hazards.
Electric blankets are typically designed to lay flat on a bed, and an electric heating unit inside the blanket is controlled on the blanket power cord. Using the blanket folded or bunched up can cause a short in the wires: the blanket could overheat and cause a fire. Many older models don’t have adequate safety controls—such as an automatic shutoff button — that can prevent them from overheating. Some electric blankets only have one “high” temperature setting that can easily overheat with prolonged use.
Unfortunately, there are many issues that can arise in the course of using an electric blanket that can result in electric blanket injuries and even death. Electrical fires, smoldering, and full flame combustion have occurred far too often and the chances of these incidents happening increases when the product becomes worn or damaged. Experts say that 99 percent of all fires and other accidents related to electric blankets and heating pads are caused by units 10 or more years old.
Electric Blanket Safety
Make sure you buy your electric blanket from a reliable source and replace it every 10 years, even if there are no signs of damage or wear.
Before using, make sure that your blanket and the cord haven’t any of the following danger signs:
- wires are visible or poking through the fabric
- scorch marks or discoloration areas visible on the fabric of the blanket
- fabric is frayed or worn
- there is damage to the electrical cord between the plug and the blanket’s control mechanism or between the control and the blanket
- the control makes a buzzing sound when switched on or gives off an odor
- the blanket’s connector, where the electrical cord plugs into the blanket, is damaged or over-heating
Electric Blanket Lawsuit
Manufacturers have a responsibility to protect consumers, and it’s important to understand your rights. Increasingly, consumers understand that the only way to force manufacturers to take responsibility for their defective and dangerous product is through litigation. The Killino Law Firm can investigate a potential product liability case and pursue compensation for you and your children harmed by unsafe products.
Unsafe Electric Blankets – Manufacturer Negligence
Manufacturers must perform strict safety tests to ensure their product is safe. But these precautions are still not enough to guarantee safety. Design defects and cheap wiring have been the cause of electric blanket fires and heating pad fires.
If a manufacturer makes products that are unsafe when used as instructed, or fails to adequately warn consumers about the possible dangers of using its products, the manufacturer can be held responsible for any personal injury or property damage caused by such products. For instance, a manufacturer may fail to warn that the product cannot be left on for a certain number of hours, or cannot be used in water or placed under a blanket.
The victim of an unsafe product may be awarded compensation for medical expenses, property damage and other losses to be paid by the manufacturer, designer, retailer or distributor of the faulty product.
Inadequate Electric Blanket Warnings
Electric Blanket manufacturers have come up with numerous designs and safety mechanisms to reduce the risk of fires. Sadly, many of these fixes have not been effective. In fact there have been reports of the safety device itself causing a fire by overheating. Thousands and thousands of recalls are evidence of defective products. In one British study as many as one third of the electric blankets studied in English households were defective.
Electric Blanket Recalls
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) issued several electric blanket recalls over the past decade, for problems such as:
- Faulty temperature controllers
- Heating elements that overheat when the blanket is not flat
- Plug connections that detach from the blanket, leading to overheating
- Loose connections that increase the risk of a short circuit and subsequent fire
Recent electric blanket recalls include:
May 2018: Supervalu and Centra recalled the Daewoo branded single and double-sized electric blankets due to a fire safety risk. The company stated a manufacturing defect may cause the blanket to spark or catch fire.
March 2018: Shop LC recalled 1,650 electric heated micro plush flannel Sherpa throw blankets due to heating coils overheating and posing fire and burn hazards.
February 2018: Rural King recalled 9,600 electric heated blankets and throws because the electric cord can overheat and catch on fire, posing fire and burn hazards. Two reports involved fires and a burn injury to a customer. The recalled blankets are 100 percent polyester and sold at Rural King stores nationwide and online from October 2017 through December 2017.
March 2015: The CSPC reported Biddeford Electric Blanket malfunctions. One report involved an 11-year-old girl. Much to the mother’s horror, the Biddeford blanket caught fire while in use by the daughter’s friend during a sleepover. Incredibly, the girl was uninjured.
Many lawsuits have been filed and settlements successfully negotiated by child accident attorney Jeffrey Killino. If your child has been injured or killed in an accident as a result of someone’s negligence or a defective product, Jeffrey Killino can help you hold those responsible for your child’s accident injury or death accountable.
Tragic Consequences – Electric Blanket Fire or Accident
In 1988 a fire originating in a children’s’ bedroom caused extensive property damage—three children asleep in the bedroom fortunately escaped unharmed. The cause was an electric blanket on the lower bunk bed. A lawsuit suit was brought against Sunbeam Corporation, the manufacturer of the electric blanket, and Sears & Roebuck Co., the retail seller of the blanket.
In a separate lawsuit involving an elderly woman, a federal court found that a Sunbeam electric blanket was defective. The woman was sleeping under an electric blanket when it caught fire. She spent five months in the hospital recovering from burns and had part of her arm amputated.
A woman and her child were under an electric blanket at home when it caught fire. The woman was killed in the fire and her young son suffered burns to about 70 percent of his body. He lost three fingers and suffered anoxic brain injury. He is expected to require lifetime medical treatment as a result of an electric blanket fire.