Teaching Kids About Electrical Safety

Posted: May 19, 2020

The human body is comprised of up to 60 percent water. That means a few things. First, it’s easy to drop excess water weight by reducing sodium and carbohydrate intake. Secondly, it also makes us great conductors of electricity.

According to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), three percent of all fatalities in the United States last year were caused by electric shocks. Now, three percent may seem like a paltry figure, but when you take into account the population of this country, a three percent fatality rate comes to close to ten million mostly avoidable deaths. But when is it time to start educating our children about electrical safety? The answer is, as soon as they’re able to understand words.

 

FIVE SIMPLE RULES


There are five simple rules that parents should teach their kids to instill a sense of electrical safety. Some of these rules can be taught and processed by the very young. And other rules can be taught later, when the child is in a situation where that rule may be applicable.

The major rule that adults should repeatedly remind young kids is:

1 – If it plugs into the wall, always ask an adult for help. As toddlers grow, they love to have a sense of “I can do this on my own.” Even into the “terrible twos,” parents should stick to this rule.

Similarly, older children need to be reminded:

2 – Don’t yank any electrical cord from the wall. Pulling from the cord puts stress on the appliance and damages the cord leaving the wires inside potentially open to exposure. Instead, teach and remind kids to always pull from the plug.

One rule that parents need to stick to for kids and themselves is:

3 – Keep all electrical stuff away from water. Most electrical accidents at home happen when people use electricity near water. Set a good example. Electric razors, hair dryers, or anything that plugs into the wall, should always be stored away, instead of by the bathroom sink when they’re not being used.

As kids grow, they accumulate a lot of stuff that plugs in. Gadgets like TV’s, home computers, game consoles, etc… may outnumber the available outlets in their bedrooms. That’s why it’s important to teach kids this rule.

4 – Don’t plug too many things into one outlet or extension cord. Too much power coming from one source in your house puts your home’s electrical system at risk and can potentially cause a fire. Invest in high quality ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) power strips. Or better yet, call a licensed electrician to come in and install a few more outlets. You can never have too many outlets, right?

Electrical safety isn’t just limited to the four walls of your home. Kids should also be aware of potential electrical hazards in the outside world too.

5 – Don’t fly kites or drones near any overhead powerlines. A kite and a string hitting a powerline could conduct electricity – sending it from the string to whomever is holding it, right into the ground. The propellers of a drone could cut through overhead powerlines sending high voltage cables to the ground.

 

BABY PROOFING


Toddlers and little crawlers love to get into everything. Expectant parent website, The Bump suggests a bunch of tips for baby proofing a home. These include covering all furniture edges with bumpers or safety padding, latching any drawers or doors within reach, and tucking away any curtain or blinds cords. But the biggest danger in your home is the electricity inside your walls. That’s why you should stick to these rules.

1 – Keep unused wall outlets secured. Little fingers love to explore. Plastic wall inserts are great, but they can get pulled out and stuck in the mouth. Block outlets by creatively rearranging your furniture. If there are outlets that you can’t block, call in a licensed electrician to install safety outlets.

2 – Hide extension cords. If you have to use an extension cord, even temporarily, tuck them behind furniture.

3 – Keep appliances out of reach. Any cable boxes, DVD players, modems, or any other gadgets or appliances that has to remain plugged in, should never be in reach of curious baby.

 

RESOURCES


As any parent quickly learns, you can’t always be there to catch a child before it falls. That’s why it’s important to instill safety into kids until their responsibly independent. Luckily, the Electrical Safety Foundation International has provided parents with some terrific resources that help make learning about electrical safety fun. Click here for short entertaining kid’s videos about electrical safety. You can even download Pre-K coloring books featuring Mr. Plug In!

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