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Electric blanket safety: What you need to know

Here's what you need to know about fire safety when it comes to electric blankets.

By Trust and Safety 9 October 2023

Heated blankets can be a great way to keep warm at night during those cold winter months. As with any electrical appliance, they can pose a fire hazard if used incorrectly.

Why is this important?

Any electrical appliance can cause fires if it's faulty or used incorrectly. House fires can easily spread and engulf your home in minutes, putting you and your whānau at risk of injury of death.

Electric blanket fires are rare in Aotearoa, but it's important to do everything you can to keep yourself safe.

Safety checklist

When using an electric blanket, Fire and Emergency NZ has some advice:

  • Have it tested yearly by a qualified electrician.
  • At the first sign of wear, replace the blanket or have it checked by a qualified electrician.
  • Never fall asleep with it switched on, even if it's only on a low temperature. Always switch it off when you get in bed.
  • Do not place objects on the bed while it is turned on.
  • Ensure the temperature control is not twisted and the electrical cord and control switch clear of your bed and bed sheets, and not caught between the mattress and base.
  • Make sure the it is tightly secured and laid flat on the bed.
  • When not in use, store it rolled up, NOT folded.
  • Electric blankets are not recommended for use by those at risk of bed-wetting, such as babies or young children.

Buying second-hand

If you can, consider buying brand-new when it comes to electric blankets.

When buying a second-hand electric blanket:

  • Look for modern electric blankets that have been tested in the past year. If you're not sure, ask the seller.
  • If the seller can't prove it's been tested recently, get it tested yourself before using it.

Selling electric blankets

If you're selling an electric blanket on Trade Me, it needs to be safe. This includes both new and second hand units.

Before selling a secondhand electric blanket:

  • Have it tested by an electrician to ensure that it meets safety standards.
  • If you have any doubts about the safety of a blanket, it’s best to not sell the item, and dispose of it.

If you're selling a lot of electrical goods, please check out our guide which explains the law and our expectations.


Trust and Safety
Trust and Safety