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Sunbeam Heating Blanket Burns

Jason Turchin, Esq.

The Hidden Risks of Electric Blankets: A Case for Increased Safety Standards

As winter approaches, many turn to electric blankets for comfort and warmth. However, a recent incident involving a Sunbeam electric blanket has highlighted significant safety concerns associated with these popular household items.

Incident Analysis

A consumer reported a frightening experience with their Sunbeam electric blanket, purchased from Amazon. According to the report, the blanket, which was operating normally, suddenly emitted a loud “POP” sound, followed by the emission of smoke while the user was lying in bed. The blanket showed extensive burn marks, indicating it had caught fire. This incident raises serious questions about the safety of electric blankets and the materials used in their manufacture.

Product Details

The product in question is a Sunbeam Electric Blanket, noted for its mushroom color, Royal Ultra Fleece Heated Electric Blanket Queen Size, with dimensions of 90″ x 84″. It features 12 heat settings, a 12-hour selectable auto shut-off, fast heating, and is machine washable. Manufactured by Star Elite, this particular model was designed to offer comfort and convenience, with a quilted channel design and dual EasySet Pro Controller for adjustable heat settings.

Despite these features intended for user comfort and safety, the malfunction reported indicates a failure in the product’s design or manufacturing process, leading to a dangerous scenario.

The Significance of Safety in Electric Bedding Products

Electric blankets are subject to strict safety standards due to their combination of electrical components and frequent use in domestic settings. The risks associated with these products, such as fire hazards, are well-known, leading to stringent regulatory requirements and testing protocols before these blankets can enter the market.

However, a recent incident with the Sunbeam electric blanket reported to CPSC suggests a lapse in these safety measures. It underscores the need for continuous monitoring and quality control throughout the product’s lifespan, beyond initial market entry. Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their products remain safe for consumers, reflecting a commitment to consumer well-being and trust.

Legal and Consumer Perspectives

From a legal standpoint, consumers who suffer injury or damage due to defective products may have grounds for product liability claims. Manufacturers, importers, and retailers can be held accountable for selling unsafe products, leading to potential lawsuits and recalls.

For consumers, this incident serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance and caution when using electric blankets. Regular inspection of the blanket, adherence to the manufacturer’s safety instructions, and prompt reporting of any issues are essential practices to mitigate the risk of accidents.

Recommendations for Manufacturers and Consumers

Manufacturers are urged to review their quality control procedures and enhance safety features to prevent such incidents. Transparency with consumers about potential risks and clear instructions for safe use are also crucial.

Consumers, on their part, should register their products to receive updates on recalls or safety notices. It is also advisable to avoid leaving electric blankets on while sleeping or when the room is unoccupied, and to inspect the blanket regularly for signs of wear, tear, or electrical issues.


The alarming incident involving a Sunbeam electric blanket serves as a stark reminder of the potential hazards associated with electric bedding. It calls for increased vigilance from both manufacturers and consumers. By prioritizing safety and adhering to strict quality standards, we can ensure that the comfort provided by electric blankets does not come at the expense of safety.

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