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Safety First! Electrical Safety Advice for Kids and Their Parents

It’s difficult to imagine our modern lives without electricity; from flicking on the lights when we arrive home to cooking dinner to charging our devices so we can stay connected with the world, it literally powers our homes. Because it is so ever-present, and so necessary, we often forget just how dangerous electricity can be – especially if we have children. How can we keep the most precious members of our households safe?

KIDS & ELECTRICITY: A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS COMBINATION

When a person comes into direct contact with a source of electricity, the current passes through them, producing a shock. If the current’s voltage is low and the duration of contact short, there may be only minor discomfort. With higher voltage and longer periods of contact, serious injury and even death can occur.

Children are mostly exposed to low voltage (110 – 220 volts) currents at home, daycare, or school. For those aged 12 or younger, household electrical cords and extension cords cause 63% of injuries, and wall outlets account for about 15%. It’s frightening to think about, but you can take steps to keep your kids safe around electricity:

>> Install outlet covers. If your home was built after 2008, the National Electrical Code requires tamper resistant outlets. They have a shutter system that only allows plugs to be inserted when equal pressure is applied on both sides of the receptacle. This makes it virtually impossible for curious toddlers to stick a fork in it, for example, and receive a shock. But… not totally impossible.

Better safe than sorry: purchase inexpensive outlet covers, regardless of when your home was built. Little fingers won’t be able to remove them, but you should be able to easily pop them out when you need the outlet.

>>Make sure cords are difficult to access. Little children are curious: that’s great! But we don’t want them exploring and experimenting with electricity at this point. Keep electrical cords and appliances out of reach.

This can be difficult because many of us have TVs, game systems, stereos, etc. with their attendant cords. Can you position furniture so the cords are hard for children to get to? If not, you can use cord-hiding devices to keep temptation at bay.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Concealer-Wall-Cover-Raceway/dp/B01JKO8724

Here’s an inexpensive solution available from retailers, including Amazon. All those tempting, dangling cords are hidden.

  1. Shorten long cords. In addition to electrical risks, these can be tripping dangers as well. If cords are especially long, wrap the excess length around your hand and secure with a zip tie or electrical/duct tape.
  2. Keep appliances out of reach. Phones, tablets, hairdryers, blenders, etc.… Just keep them out of reach until your children are old enough to understand how to use them safely.
  3. Be on the lookout for damaged cords and sockets. Is your lamp cord a bit frayed? Do you have a socket that buzzes when you plug something in? Do the lights flicker? Do you detect a burning smell? Do not touch! Keep your kids away and call your electrician ASAP.
  4. Educate your children. Kids are like sponges! They soak up information. As soon as they are able to comprehend simple instructions, talk to them about the rules, including:

              > Don’t touch outlets.

              > Don’t pull plugs out by the cords (You too, parents! This can damage the cord and lead to an electrical/fire hazard).

              > Never bring an electrical device near water.

              > Ask an adult for help when using an electric appliance/device.

              > If you’re not sure what to do, ask a grownup!

>> Replace your knob-and-tube wiring. One of the best steps you can take to keep your family safe is to address your electrical system as a whole. If you have knob-and-tube wiring, which is common in older homes, there is an increased risk of short circuits, overloads, and even fire. With an upgrade, you can start with a more secure foundation for your family.

Even if you don’t have knob-and-tube, a home inspection is a good idea so you can pinpoint potential trouble spots. We’re here to help with all of this.

Safe, reliable electricity is a must for today’s households. If you have questions or concerns about protecting your home and family, give us a call today. The Jefferson Electric family is committed to keeping yours safe.

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