Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Electrical Safety Authority. As always, opinions are all mine.
Back when I was nineteen years old and living on my own with Jordan, I’ll never forget when I got an electrical shock in my bedroom of our apartment thanks to a hair straightener! I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I remember the extreme pain that went through my whole body from the top of my head to the tip of my toes, it was scary.
After it happened I called my brother in a panic asking if I was going to die from this shock, he laughed and said no and to avoid that plug socket from now on. So, I did just that. I got covers and covered every single electrical outlet in the apartment that wasn’t in use; I wasn’t taking any chances.
Research has found that even low-voltage shocks can have long-term after-effects, such as pins and needles, numbness, memory loss and anxiety.
Ever since that day back when I was nineteen, it’s been my goal to make sure every outlet in our home is not accessible to the little kids, and if they are they are adequately protected. Here are some ways you can keep your kids safe from electrical injury in the home:
- Install tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles: to protect younger children from shocks. They have shutters that cover the plug slots and help prevent little fingers or objects from going into the outlet.
- Replace broken outlets: If your outlet has a missing or broken cover plate, replace it immediately. Outlet covers create a barrier between children and exposed wires.
- Teach older children: how to plug in and unplug safely. Never overload outlets by plugging in too many cords. Use an approved power bar that has surge protection instead. When it’s time to unplug, don’t yank wires from the wall. This can damage the appliance, the cord, and the outlet.
- If a cord is frayed, replace it. Tape won’t protect kids from a shock. Extension cords—which should only be used temporarily—are prone to cracking and fraying, which can lead to a shock or fire.
- Water and electricity: can be a lethal mix. Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)—the ones with the reset button—in any room with water (i.e., bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms) to help protect from a shock.
- Hire a pro: If you have electrical work that needs to be done in your home, hire only a Licensed Electrical Contractor for the work.
For children under 15 years old, the majority of electrical injuries happen at home. Prevent small fingers and hands from getting shocked or burned by replacing frayed cords, replacing missing or broken outlet covers and keeping little hands from plugging and unplugging things until they are old enough to understand the dangers.
Our kids watch and absorb everything we do. If we can show them how to use electrical devices and appliances safely, they are more likely to be cautious and safe when we aren’t watching. Unfortunately, we can’t protect our kids outside of our home completely, we can give them the tools to be aware but it may not be enough if they come across something that has an electrical fault. If they do and it is in a public/business area, you can bring about a multimeter lawsuit to that business, and hope that this brings about better safety protocols.
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