There's a hidden danger in smartphones.
Last week, a Dallas girl's phone got hot under her pillow in the middle of the night and caught fire.
Three hours after falling asleep, 13-year-old Ariel Tolfree said she felt the heat and woke up. She said everything was charred and there was a hole in her mattress. Her phone was destroyed, but she wasn't injured.
Tolfree and her family suspect it was the lithium-ion battery, which was a replacement and not the phone's original battery.
At least one major phone company warns customers that leaving their smartphones under bedding may cause a fire or even an explosion.
Experts say what happened to Tolfree is rare, but can obviously happen.
Lithium-ion batteries are used in many products, from phones to tablets. They can overheat, sometimes reaching 350 degrees.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission and CTIA-The Wireless Association offer these safety tips when using lithium-ion batteries:
- Do not use batteries and chargers that are incompatible with your mobile device. Some websites and secondhand dealers not associated with reputable manufacturers and carriers have been found to be selling incompatible, counterfeit, or poorly manufactured batteries and chargers. Consumers should purchase manufacturer or carrier recommended products and accessories. If unsure about whether a replacement battery or charger is compatible with your mobile device, contact the original equipment manufacturer.
- Do not let a loose battery come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys, or jewelry. Metal objects can cross the electrical connections and cause an incident.
- Do not crush, puncture or put a high degree of pressure on the battery, as this can cause an internal short-circuit, resulting in overheating.
- Do not place the phone or batteries in areas that may get very hot, such as on or near a cooking surface, cooking appliance, iron, or radiator.
- Avoid dropping the mobile device. Dropping it, especially on a hard surface, can potentially cause damage to the device and battery. If you suspect damage to the device or battery, take it to a service center for inspection.
- Do not let your mobile device or battery get wet. Even though the device will dry and appear to operate normally, the battery contacts or circuitry could slowly corrode and pose a safety hazard.
- Follow battery usage, storage, and charging guidelines found in the user's guide.