Callum snuck his parents’ four-year-old Samsung tablet into his room to watch a movie. After plugging in the charger and getting through most of the movie, he fell asleep. When he woke, his room was full of smoke, and there was a hole burnt into his bed.
Fire crews told Callum’s family that if the tablet had been left for another 10 minutes, it could have started a fire in his room. The issue was contained to the battery area of the tablet, with the original charger in use and still in perfect condition. Following the incident, the fire and rescue service issued a warning that tablets and smartphones should never be left to charge on potentially flammable surfaces.
Mark Gardiner, joint lead officer for product safety at the Trading Standards Institute (TSI), has advised all smartphone and tablet owners to avoid charging devices unattended, especially overnight.
In 2014, a fire which caused the death of five people was blamed by investigators on an “electrical fault involving a faulty charging device”.
The online charging device market has since been flooded by unofficial chargers. Tests commissioned by Charity Electrical Safety First found that half the chargers available had been wired with “sub-standard components”, with none of the tested products meeting safety requirements.
Philip Le Shirley, product safety adviser for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), says that, wherever possible, consumers should use the charger supplied and follow these steps:
- buy only approved chargers for products
- follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- if in doubt, contact the manufacturer directly.
Do you sleep with your smart device in your bed? Do you charge your smart device overnight? Will you now rethink this practice?
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