In-Bed Computing Safety: Laptop Coolers


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Having a mobility disability often times forces you to do things that aren’t quite that safe – balancing a hot coffee on your armrest, using your mouth to open a beer bottle – but sometimes you just gotta do what you got to do.  We hate asking for help as much as the next guy. And one of the biggest of these you may not even realize is unsafe is using your laptop in bed.

It may seem completely harmless, watching Netflix in bed, playing your favorite game, but your laptop needs air to breathe so it doesn’t overheat.  It has vents to keep it cool and a fan; the vents are located underneath your laptop, but when you set your laptop on your comforter, it instantly plugs up these vents, causing major heat buildup in your precious machine.  All it takes is 20 minutes and before you know it, your laptop will be burning your lap.

If you continue using your laptop in bed like this, it will be the end of your laptop before you know it. A laptop has so many components squeezed into a small case that it can’t take being swallowed up by fabric. The hard drive will overheat and seriously limit the lifespan of your laptop.

For years, whenever I used my laptop in bed I would just put a book underneath it to protect my lap. I used my old Brian Froud sketchbook from the movie, Labyrinth, and it worked great. I never thought about it again either until a few months ago when my condominium building had a sign in the lobby on the fancy coffee tables that said, “Please use laptop coolers under laptops to protect both the table and your PC.”

When I saw this sign, my ears definitely perked up. “What is this laptop cooler of which they speak? It sounds like something I need!” So I Googled “laptop coolers” and lo and behold I found out what they were – a cool plastic or aluminum “coaster” for your laptop with a built-in fan that runs off your USB port, making sure your laptop stays around 72°. Sweet!

And the best part about these, if you have decreased sensation you don’t have to worry about your lap overheating and not knowing it anymore.  They were great. The cooler makes you safe, as well as your laptop, 24/7. To get one, I looked around online but ended up purchasing one from Target (didn’t feel like paying for shipping), and I actually found a decent one – a Belkin Cooling Pad.

I also discovered another cool bonus of using a laptop cooler – it raises my laptop up a few inches from the table, making it easier to reach. Gotta love that. It keeps both my lap cool and makes it easier to type…. I think I may be in love.

Do you swear by your laptop cooler? Which brand you like?

Products Mentioned

– Belkin Laptop Cooling Pad – Black

Photo courtesy of Flickr CC

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