Shannon's volunteer fire brigade has put out a call for people to be careful about where they charge their phones - and for parents to be particularly vigilant.

Often people will charge their phones, tablets, iPads or other devices near their beds, including under pillows or bedding, with the risk of fire if the charger heats up.

While it may be tempting to snuggle up in bed with your device, especially in the colder months, having it plugged in or charging while you do so can be particularly risky.

The brigade says a recent study has shown 53 per cent of children and teenagers charge their devices on their bed or under their pillow, which is extremely dangerous as the heat generated by a charger is then unable to dissipate.


"The likely result is that the pillow/bed will catch fire, placing the child, as well as everyone else in the property, in great danger," the brigade said in a statement.

There is an increased risk if chargers are damaged or have frayed wires, or if the wattage is not correct for the device.

A post on the Shannon brigade's Facebook page garnered a huge response, with many commenters warning others or admitting they often charged their phones in or on their bed.

Last year, in one example of the potential danger caused by incorrect charging, an off-brand cellphone charger was the focus of an investigation into a fire that destroyed a Maketū home and left a man with burns.

The fire happened in the early hours of the morning, with the four-bedroom home completely destroyed and the occupants lucky to escape with their lives.

Recommended best practice for safe device charging includes:

Make sure you place the device on a hard surface while it is charging. Never charge ot on a soft surface including a bed, sofa, cushion or similar.

Don't use your device while it's charging, as the extra heat generated increases the risk of it catching fire and causing burns.


If a device's external components, such as charger cords or batteries, are getting worn or are damaged it is safest to replace them.

If you are a parent or guardian, check where your children are using and charging devices and make sure they are safe.