Electricity is such an important and longstanding part of our lives that we seldom notice all the ways we use it and all habits we have learned to keep ourselves safe. It’s easy to forget that what comes automatically to an adult may never occur to a child, especially not to a small child. Ever-useful electricity can be dangerous in so many ways. If you have children, then you need to be aware of all of them.
For the Littlest Ones
The smallest children don’t know what electricity is, but they love to touch things and put them into their mouths. Remember that their mouths are wet and that water conducts electricity. Live plugs that pose little danger to adults can be a hazard to small children.
Never leave a live charger or connector unplugged when there are small children around. That means that the chargers for your mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices should always be removed from the outlet when not in use. Devices with removable power adapters, such as radios, speakers and some small appliances, should be kept out of the reach of children. Remember, they can pull out the removable power cords and put them into their mouths.
Of course, you need to be careful with outlets, too. Outlets should be kept switched off, and for extra protection, you can plug plastic covers into the openings. Remember, small children can flip the switches on the outlets almost as easily as you can.
Teach Your Children To Respect Electricity
Older children need to be taught to respect electricity. Websites like Think Safe can walk them through electrical safety lessons, and you can reinforce those lessons in your home.
Rather than banning your older children from using outlets and electrical devices, teach them to do so responsibly. Show them how to identify and avoid live wires and teach them to keep electrical devices far away from water. Modern electronics are so obliquitous and so often-used that it can be easy to forget that they pose an electrical hazard. They should never be operated near water or with wet hands.
Fires May Be a Bigger Concern Than Shocks
According to the Electrical Safety Council, “Every year in UK homes, about 70 people die and 350,000 are seriously injured from electrical accidents,” and approximately half those injuries are due to electrical fires. Electrical fires are most often caused by worn out cords, overheated wiring, faulty appliances and overloaded outlets.
Both pets and small children can chew on cords, endangering themselves and creating a fire risk at the same time. Inspect cords regularly, and look out for signs of wiring problems like power flickers and a hard to trace burning smell.
Beware of overloading sockets, as well. Power strips and plug adaptors can allow you to run more than one device from a single outlet, but is it a good idea? Each outlet should be limited to 13 amps or 3000 watts of output. The Electrical Safety Council has a calculator to help you avoid overloading outlets. They also keep a list of electrical product recalls. Make sure that none of your electrical appliances are on the list.
If you have taken advantage of the new fixed energy prices, then your family has plenty of electricity to spare. Make sure that it’s used safely.
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