Children are risking their lives when they charge their mobile phones and tablets in bed, parents have been warned.
Firefighters say youngsters leaving phones charging overnight under pillows and blankets is causing fires.
And people buying cheap and counterfeit chargers are also putting themselves and their families at risk.
New research carried out by Electrical Safety First shows many tech savvy children are leaving themselves open to serious dangers in their bedrooms.
Over half (53per cent) of all children admitted that they had left their phone, laptop or tablet charging on their bed, almost two in five (38 per cent) were guilty of leaving their phones charging under their pillow overnight and over a quarter (27 per cent have bought or used a cheap unbranded charger.
Charging appliances on beds – which this research reveals is a common occurrence – leaves families open to a real risk of fire. If a device, such as a phone or a tablet, is left surrounded by bedding or under a pillow, there is nowhere for the generated heat to dissipate and it will to become hotter and hotter.
The heat caused by the device, combined with flammable materials, has the potential to cause fire and put property or even lives in danger.
Even if the device is manufactured to the correct safety standards, it can still become very dangerous, very quickly, if not charged on a table or similar appropriate environment.
Boss of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service’s community safety team, Station manager Matt Reavill, said fortunately not many examples had been seen in Nottinghamshire.
He said: “Tthat doesn’t mean to say that the risk doesn’t exist for us here as it does, and it relates to most electrical devices.
“More specifically to smartphones I would say one of the major issues is the availability of ‘cheap’ charging cables and devices out there as, while these might be cost effective, many don’t meet British and EU Safety Standards – making them potentially dangerous.
“Another common issue is people charging phones under their pillows at night and I would really advise people don’t do this.
“Bedding is combustible and the charging process can give off a lot of heat, especially when a device is under a pillow where there is low air circulation. This heat – in the right circumstances - can lead to a fire starting.
“Finally I would also urge people to be cautious when charging devices overnight. Similar to with washing machines and tumble dryers, leaving things running or charging overnight, or even while you’re out, means that should a fire start you are unable to take swift action.”
Dos and don’ts for charging safely in children’s bedrooms
DO make sure laptops, phones, tablets and any other electrical devices are charged on a hard surface such as a desk or table
DON’T charge phones, tablets or any electrical device on your bed, under a pillow or anywhere the device might overheat. Avoid charging devices unattended or overnight.
DO make sure that children keep their rooms tidy and dust free, clothes left on electrical devices such as games consoles can cause vents to be blocked and the device to overheat and catch fire.
DO get everyone in your family into the habit of switching off electric games, computers, TVs and other electric appliances before you go to bed.
DON’T use or let children use fake or unbranded chargers. Many of these chargers do not satisfy UK safety regulations and can cause serious electric shock, injury or fire.
DO check plugs, sockets and cables regularly for signs of damage or scorching.
DON’T overload electric plug sockets. If you’re not sure if your socket is overloaded you can check on this calculator
DON’T put drinks or other liquids on or near electric appliances. After bathing or showering children should be fully dry before using an electrical device. Water and electricity are a lethal combination.
DO make sure children understand how to use electricity and electric appliances responsibly and safely.