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You may want to think twice before using your smartphone or tablet in bed. Though we already know these devices can negatively impact sleeping habits, according to a PSA posted on Facebook by a fire department in New Hampshire, they can also become a safety issue for you and your family.
The Newton Fire Department shared a photo of burned sheets and pillows beside a charger as proof that this could happen to anyone — and it’s a sleeping habit that could be putting anyone (particularly children and teens) at risk.
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“Research has revealed that 53 percent of children/teens charge their phone or tablet either on their bed or under their pillow,” they wrote. “The heat generated cannot dissipate, and the charger will become hotter and hotter.”
Other research has shown that 72 percent of kids and 89 percent of teens use at least one device in their “sleep environment,” often used just before bedtime, according to a 2016 study published in JAMA Pediatrics. “The likely result is that the pillow/bed will catch fire,” the fire department added. “This places the child/teen as well as everyone else in the home in great danger.”
It’s key for parents to warn their kids and grandkids about the dangers of sleeping next to your smartphone, but it’s equally as important to pay close attention to where chargers are placed throughout the rest of your house, too.
To protect yourself and your device, always use an official charger, says Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “To check if a charger is Apple certified, look for the ‘Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad’ logo,” she says. “Avoid charging in extreme environmental conditions — too hot or too cold — and charge your device out of any case, as that can generate excess heat.”