The woman's iPhone charger sent an electrical current through her necklace, burning her in the process

By Rachel DeSantis
August 01, 2019 02:07 PM
Annals of Emergency Medicine (2)

A 19-year-old woman suffered severe neck burns after her necklace came in contact with her generic cell phone charger, prompting experts to warn others to keep their charging phones away from their beds.

The woman’s story was recently highlighted as a case report in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

The scientific journal said she was wearing a chain necklace while lying in bed with her generic iPhone charger plugged into the wall and sitting beneath her pillow.

She was taken to the emergency room at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital after feeling a “sudden burning sensation” and severe pain around her neck, which she later learned was a second-degree burn.

Doctors concluded she’d likely suffered an electrical injury after her charger sent a current through the necklace.

“Generic phone chargers can cause burns or electrocutions,” lead author Dr. Carissa Bunke, a pediatric resident at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, said in a statement. “Teens and adolescents are particularly at risk of injury due to their frequent mobile device use. They should be advised to not sleep with their phones or mobile devices charging in bed and avoid leaving the charger plugged in when it is not connected to a phone.”

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Generic phone chargers are popular among iPhone users, as they typically sell for cheaper than chargers that are certified by Apple.

The difference lies in a chip Apple includes in its chargers, which corresponds with the phone and helps it avoid becoming overheated or overpowered, Eddie Prestopine, manager at CPR Cell Phone Repair in Shreveport, La., told ABC affiliate KTBS.

The analysis published by the Annals of Emergency Medicine notes that a U.K. study conducted by Electrical Safety First found that of the 64 generic chargers Apple provided for safety testing, 58 percent failed the electrical strength test.

RELATED: A Man Was Nearly Electrocuted by His iPhone Charger While He Was Asleep

In another, only three of 400 generic chargers passed tests for electric shock safety risks.

Incidents similar to that of the 19-year-old have been reported before; last month, a Louisiana woman suffered an arm burn after she fell asleep while her phone was plugged into a generic charger on her bed, according to KTBS.

An Alabama man also received second- and third-degree burns after he was shocked by 110 volts of electricity after his charger came in contact with his dog-chain necklace in 2017.

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