A well-known downside to sleeping with your cell phone nearby is a frequent disruption of sleep cycles which can lead to insomnia and unhealthy sleep patterns, but firefighters have now warned that there is a far greater physical danger of having your phone in your bed with you while sleeping.
For many of us, falling asleep with our phones while playing games, texting or listening to music while the device is being charged has become an inseparable part of our lives, but if you find advice of firefighters to be worth its salt, any device charging overnight is a fire hazard due to the battery/charger heating up.
The Newton, New Hampshire Fire Department recently posted a public service announcement on Facebook about the dangers of sleeping with a charging device. In the announcement, pictures of scorch marks on sheets demonstrate the very real effect of having a charging phone in one’s bed. The New Hampshire fire brigade wrote:
“Research has revealed that 53% of children/teens charge their phone or tablet either on their bed or under their pillow. This is can be extremely dangerous. The heat generated cannot dissipate and the charger will become hotter and hotter.
The likely result is that the pillow/bed will catch fire. This places the child/teen as well as everyone else in the home in great danger. Please check where you & your family charge your mobile devices.”
In addition to batteries overheating on flammable surfaces, another hazard is the possibility of the charger itself catching on fire. Chargers that show signs of fraying or those that are incompatible with a device have an increased chance to go up in flames.
The firefighters warn that cheap aftermarket chargers bought online can cause battery overheating, electrocutions, burns, or fires. It is strongly encouraged to make sure the wattage is compatible with your device before purchasing and that items are bought from reputable sources.
Recently, a fire department from Alabama shared tips for charging devices like phones, tablets, or laptops after responding to a house fire started by a device on a charger.
1. Keep your device on a hard surface while charging
2. To reduce the chances of being burned if your device overheats or catches fire, don’t use it while it’s charging
3. Do not leave a charging device on soft surfaces like a sofa or bed
4. Replace accessories or other parts that have excessive wear – batteries, cords, etc. – because they can spark and cause a fire.