In the modern age, most people rely heavily on a cell phone. We use them constantly throughout the day, and many of us are even guilty of taking them to bed with us. According to a Pew study, 44 percent of cell phone users say they stay connected, even after lights-out. Falling asleep with your phone can be dangerous, and not just because you’re staying up late to play Candy Crush.
Recently, a Texas teenager woke up to find that her cell phone had been smoldering while she slept, melting into her bed and burning her sheets and mattress. The phone, a Samsung Galaxy S4, had a non-Samsung replacement battery that was incompatible with the phone, and it had slipped under the pillow where heat was trapped.
Cell phones, as well as laptops and tablets, use lithium-ion batteries. Though they are typically safe for everyday use, there is still a risk they could overheat or even explode if they slip under blankets or a pillow, where air doesn’t circulate. The batteries can overheat and cause something called a “thermal runaway,” when one lithium cell gets too hot and sets off a chain reaction within the battery.
Incidents like the melted cell phone in Texas are not uncommon, and sometimes result in personal injury cases or defective product liabilities. You can take measures to avoid injury by storing your electronics in an open spot – if you must take your cell phone to bed, place it on a nightstand before you fall asleep. Never buy cheap versions of lithium batteries, and follow the instructions in your device’s owner’s manual.
Taking these steps will reduce your chances of being injured by your cell phone or other device, but accidents happen. If you are injured, consult with the attorneys at Garland and Mason, L.L.C. about a possible product liability case.