This dangerous habit is putting the safety of your entire family at risk.
We don’t need to look far to be warned about the risks of smartphones, and honestly, it all becomes a white noise after a while. We’re given side-eye for our “distracted” lifestyles because we look at our phones while our kids play at the park. Experts remind us that looking at the hypnotic white backlight from smartphones and tablets before bed can disrupt sleep habits, and don’t even get me started on the rabbit hole of inappropriate YouTube videos out there. But this latest warning is one that we all need to listen to. Seriously. Are you listening? Like really listening? Good.
Do not leave your phone or tablet charging in bed while you sleep. I repeat: do not leave your phone or tablet charging in bed while you sleep.
The fire department in Newton, New Hampshire, recently shared some really scary information and photos in a now-viral Facebook post. According to the fire department, “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 post goes on to explain that the heat generated while charging can’t dissipate, which causes the charger to become hotter and hotter. If the charger and phone are on or in the bed, the pillow or bed can catch fire, putting the entire family in danger.
This isn’t just a potential risk either; it is actually happening. A 10-year-old in Northern Ireland recently awoke to the smell of his smoke from his burning iPhone in the middle of the night. He had been charging his new phone overnight in his bedroom. The phone overheated and was badly singed, but fortunately, there was no fire.
The family of a 15-year-old girl from Wales wasn’t so lucky last November when their house was engulfed in flames after her iPhone overheated. According to Metro, the phone had been resting on the bed covers, which quickly caught fire. No one was hurt, but the family had to leave the home for six months because of the extensive damage caused by the fire.
“Turn chargers off and unplug them before you go to bed,” Stuart Millington, senior fire safety manager at North Wales Police, warned people following the accident. “Never leave items on charge or unattended for long periods.”
It isn’t just teenagers who leave their phones charged overnight. Earlier this year a 32-year-old man from Alabama was nearly electrocuted after falling asleep with his phone charging next to him in bed.
While he slept, the phone had disconnected from the charger, but when he rolled over in the morning, his dog-tag necklace caught on the exposed prongs of the charger, acting as a conductor for the electricity traveling straight to his neck. His shirt was singed, and strips of skin and flesh were missing from his neck where the metal chain necklace had burned his neck.
This is scary stuff, folks. Phones are literally catching fire while we sleep. This is not some paranoid Judgy McJudgerson wagging their finger at us; this is a real danger.
As the Newton Fire Department recommends, pay attention to where you and your kids are charging your mobile devices — and don’t charge them in bed.
Seriously. Just don’t.