Safety of Rolled and Folded Cotton Blankets Warmed in 130°F and 200°F Cabinets

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Abstract

Purpose:

In 2014, ECRI recommended that blanket warming cabinets be set at a maximum temperature of 130°F because of safety concerns with warmed rolled and folded blankets. We could find no research to support this recommendation. The purpose of this study was to measure skin temperatures and thermal comfort in healthy volunteers before and after application of folded and rolled dry cotton blankets warmed in 130°F or 200°F cabinets.

Design:

Randomized, descriptive, and comparative study.

Methods:

Participants (n = 20) received two blankets (one rolled and one folded) from warming cabinets set at 130°F or 200°F. Folded blankets were applied to the back and rolled to the neck. Skin temperatures and thermal comfort were obtained at fixed time intervals.

Findings:

Skin temperatures from blankets in the 200°F cabinet were greater than those in the 130°F cabinet. No skin temperatures reached temperature and/or duration thresholds for dermal injury.

Conclusions:

This study provides supportive evidence that warming cabinets may be set at a maximum of 200°F without compromising patient safety.

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