Whether you’re a busy working parent or a student loaded with homework, you might be using a laptop or tablet to get some work done. Safety regulators in Washington, D.C., are reminding consumers those devices come with some powerful batteries that bring a potential burn hazard into your home.
“Laptops and tablets both have lithium ion batteries, which are very powerful in a very small space, so you need to respect that battery, that powerful battery,” said Patty Davis, of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Many of us get very casual with our laptops. They might be sitting on a plush bed or the living room couch. Regulators said both are mistakes.
A couple years ago, an apartment in Virginia caught fire thanks to an overheated laptop battery. The battery was under recall at the time. U.S. Consumer Producer Safety Commission officials said it’s aware of 674 reports of incidents with laptop computers between 2001 and June of 2015 — reports of overheating, smoking or catching fire.
And, while they may be called “lap” tops, you might think twice about using them on your lap too often.
“It can get hot on your lap. Use it on a desktop. Use it on a hard surface so that it can have some airflow,” Davis advised.
In fact, some medical journals said over time, the heat emitted from the device can cause a mottled skin condition known as “toasted skin syndrome.”
This year alone, Nvidia and Lenovo have recalled thousands of tablets and battery packs because of overheating.
Even if you’re not having any problems with your device, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on recalls on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.