Activated Self-warming Blankets

Activated self-warming blankets have several safety advantages over forced-air warmers. They may also represent a significant cost saving measure – linen usage will be greatly reduced.

Disadvantages of forced air warmers include:
– occasionally remembering to turn forced air warmer on is overlooked
– risk of patient burns when used incorrectly (see here)
– hose falling out from yellow blanket connection without being realised
– requirement for electricity to be used (cost)
– heating devices shouldn’t be plugged into anaesthetic machine
– power point use (less sockets for other equipment; also leads to power packs and other, extension cabling and other potential safety issues)
– electrical cable tripping hazard
– don’t easily allow for pre-warming
– noise pollution
– not amenable (easily) for use postoperatively
– surgeons/scrub sister often request for forced air warmer to be left off until patient prepped and draped so as not to inflate onto sterile field. Significant delay post induction before warming can commence.

There may also be concerns about increased infection risk with use of forced air warming (we welcome any data to demonstrate this).

It is vitally important we don’t replace one problem with another. Please let us know if you hear of any issues with the EasyWarm product. We provide an article describing how they can heat up significantly if scrunched up (see here).


Contact  a representative and trial the EasyWarm Blanket in your hospital.


Active self-warming blankets are not licensed for use in paediatrics.

They are contraindicated in hypotensive patients.

They remain warm for 10 hours after exposing to air and have a shelf life of 2 years.

Patientsafe has no financial interest with EasyWarm or Molnlycke.


Recently Molynycke changed the request on the package of their EasyWarm blankets to represent an instruction feasible on the front line (see below). We congratulate them on doing this and believe the EasyWarm may have significant patient safety advantages over forced air warmers.



There were concerns over the following request on the packaging which appeared beyond usual practice. Molnlycke have addressed this issue as mentioned they would in their letter. See: Letter from Molnlycke 4th March 2016.


EasyWarm is already used in many hospitals – we welcome any feedback about this product.


  1. Gordon french

    Are these like the hand warmers used in golf gloves for british winter golfers? If From china they use some sort of iron filings stuff or a liquid that solidifies as heats up when “activated”? Sorry for my ignorance!


      Hi Gordon, Yes – I believe they may be. When the packet containing the blanket is opened it starts a thermal reaction – the blankets warm within 30 minutes and stay warm for at least 10hrs.

  2. Giles Farrington

    We are using forced air gowns which offer a better ability for pre-warming, taping down the forced air blankets allows for use before skin prep and reminding scrubbed staff of the benefits of a warm patient normally silences their complaints.


      Thanks Giles, The best solutions for patient safety will be the simplest – decreasing the burden of work for front line staff.

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