The Dangers of Sleeping with Your Cellphone
A recent story out of North Texas has created quite a stir among cellphone users and in the industry. A Samsung smartphone kept under the pillow of a 13-year-old girl, Ariel Tolfree, burst into flames and ignited her bedding.
There had been a warning in the smell of burning electronics, but she went back to sleep not thinking much about it. When she woke the second time, her bed was on fire. Fortunately, she had woken soon enough that her father was able to stomp out the flames before any serious damage was done.
The Heat Danger of Modern Cellphones
Ariel always kept her cellphone under her pillow while she slept. She did it to have her phone close by and perhaps even to protect her privacy. Whatever her reasons, neither she nor her parents ever thought much about the habit prior to the fire.
Nevertheless, it highlights some of the risks associated with cellphones that fire departments and residential security companies have been warning us about. Smartphones and other modern gadgets tend to generate a lot of heat relative to their size. If we place them in a confined area while they’re on, including standby states, that heat can build up and ignite nearby materials.
Ariel Is Not Alone
While many will chalk this story up to youthful carelessness, such behavior is not limited to just kids. Most of us lead lives where our cellphones and tablets are essential to our daily grind. As adults, we may not store them under our pillows, but we certainly fall asleep with them on the couch and store them in small compartments, such as a briefcase or the center console in our vehicle.
Be Proactive about Your Cellphone Habits
It’s understandable if you need your phone or tablet nearby at all times, but even the nightstand is too close for comfort. Instead, store it across the room but out in the open. This way, you can still hear alarms and notifications, but you reduce the dangers of fire or health risks.
There is also the concern over cancer and other ailments that cellphones may cause. There is no definitive proof yet. However, if the International Agency for Research on Cancer recognizes the potential, why take the risk? If cancer from cellphone use is a possibility, then poor Ariel is certainly increasing her chances by keeping the device that close to her head for 8 hours at a time.
Find Ways to Distance Yourself
If you talk on the phone often, then perhaps an inconspicuous Bluetooth headset is the ideal option. Bluetooth devices don’t present the same risks as far as we know, and they allow you to store your cellphone elsewhere. Perhaps you can store it in a purse, but if you do store it in such a container, then make sure there is plenty of room in there. If you’re using the device for long periods, then take time to open the case to let it air out and the device to cool down.