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Why is it ok for an adult to charge their phone in bed… but not a child?

Children are being urged not to charge their mobile phones on their beds by fire departments around the world. These warnings are due to the fact that; it could cause sheets to be set ablaze. Yet adults around the world are not heading their own advice and are charging their cell phones and other electronics on their beds!

Research by Electrical Safety First and Underwriters Laboratory (UL) have found that approximately 53 percent of youngsters admitted leaving their phone, laptop or tablet charging on their bed and 38 percent more kept them under pillows at night. While there are very limited studies of how many adults do the same!

The firm says that charging electrical appliances on or near beds leaves families open to the risk of a house fire.

If a device is left surrounded by bedding or under a pillow, there is nowhere for the generated heat to dissipate, said Emma Apter, head of communications at Electrical Safety First.

Many parents are unaware of the electrical dangers in their children's bedrooms and how one person's bad habits could put the whole family at risk.

"The research shows that unwittingly, many parents and children are taking big risks with their safety," she said.

"Technology has advanced at a rapid pace over the last 20 years and children's bedrooms now contain more sophisticated technology than ever before.

"Many parents are unaware of the electrical dangers in their children's bedrooms and how one person's bad habits could put the whole family at risk. We'd like parents to understand the risks and lead by example."

Research has also revealed that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of children have bought or used a cheap, unbranded charger.

Electrical Safety First and the UL have found these chargers often contained faulty parts that can overheat, catch fire or cause a fatal shock.

Dwayne Blanchard, a father-of-three from Sunderland, experienced the dangers of unsafe charging first-hand last November 2015.

He had been home later than usual that morning and woke to the smell of burning coming from his son's bedroom.

Running into the room, he noticed that 12-year-old Brandon had been charging a Bluetooth speaker and his phone under his pillow, which caused the sheets to burst into flames.

A mobile phone charger being used by Brandon, 12, started a blaze at their home. Credit: Fox 4

"I saw the fire on his pillow, where his phone and Bluetooth speaker were sitting. I was able to put it out right away but if I hadn't been there, it could have burned the house down," Mr. Blanchard said.

"I feel like we had a real lucky escape. We're in a duplex so it could have been devastating for us and our next-door neighbor."

Since the fire, the family has new rules meaning all electrical equipment in the house are now charged downstairs and nothing is left plugged in overnight or while they go out.

"Brandon did have a proper charger for his phone, but the Bluetooth speaker was plugged into a different charger than the one it came with, just because it was the right size," Mr. Blanchard added.

"I won't be letting him use a different charger or charge anything under his pillow again."

Additional to the concern of fire are the disruption that this technology has on us the individual. Studies have concluded the following information related to electronic technologies:

  • 90% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their smartphones

  • 1 in 3 people would rather give up sex than their phone

  • 95% of people use the phone for something just before going to bed

  • Half of people check their phones immediately if they wake up during the night

Unfortunately, our bodies haven't quite adapted to the change yet:

  • 63% of people aren't getting enough sleep

  • Too much screen time reduces melatonin, the chemical that makes you sleep

  • Not sleeping makes you stressed and depressed

  • Sleeping fewer than 6 hours a night raises your heart attack risk by 50%

To be safe your best bet is to consult with an expert that will help you identify common problems and make suggestions for change before it's too late. C & A Safety Consultants has over 30 years experience in working with business, government agencies, schools, churches, youth groups, camps (day and sleep away) and individuals.

C & A Safety Consultants are located in Southern California.

C & A Safety can be reached at: or by telephone: 805-750-0915

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