Children are being urged not to charge their mobile phones on their beds by a fire safety charity that warned it could cause sheets to be set ablaze.
Research by Electrical Safety First shows that 53 per cent of youngsters admitted leaving their phone, laptop or tablet charging on their bed and 38 per cent more kept them under pillows at night.
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.
“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 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.
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.
“I saw the fire on his pillow, where his phone and Bluetooth speaker were sat. I was able to put it out straight 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 semi so it could have been devastating for us and our next-door neighbour.”
Since the fire, he and his partner Rachel have 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.”
Original source: The Telegraph