Have a toddler or two crawling around? No question children are one of the greatest gifts in life but the responsibility for keeping them safe can be daunting. Their curiosity is only matched by their ability to get into everything. There are a number of suggestions new parents should take to heart when childproofing your home against electric accidents.
• The most obvious place to begin is making sure that any unused outlets are secure. Purchasing tiny plastic inserts or an outlet box is the first step towards creating an electricity-safe environment. But, do not become too comfortable with this ‘fix’. You should still remain on guard because a determined child can figure them out! The best option is to use these devices but also rearrange the furniture so children cannot access the outlets.
• Do not leave common electric devices within reach of children. For example, do not leave curling irons, irons, hairdryers or small devices on counter tops or other places that are accessible to children. Never leave an electric device plugged in and then walk away, either. This only invites disaster.
• Extension cords should be a last resort option for getting electricity to desired locations. If you must use extension cords you can purchase covers that will make them more difficult for children to manipulate. Cover any unused plug holes with plastic inserts or electrical tape in extension cords as well because these are live if the cord is plugged into an outlet.
• Never use an electrical appliance near water – not a sink, tub or shower in the bathroom or sinks in the kitchen. Children should know to keep their drinks and other liquid items away from outlets or electrical appliances.
Even older children have a tendency to be unaware of the dangers of water and electricity. Recently a teenage girl plugged in her phone and then got into a tub of water – where she was electrocuted. Teaching your older children about the dangers of electricity is just as important. Remind them:
• Not to stick anything into the toaster if something gets stuck. Unplug it first and then turn it upside down and shake out the item that is wedged in.
• Not to climb trees that are near power lines, fly kites near power lines, or touch downed power lines.