Electrical risks putting your kids in danger

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Your home is filled with electrical risks – but do your kids know what they are? Educating children on the importance of acting safely around electricity is essential, but with smaller children, even more needs to be done to keep them safe. Here are a few tips for creating a child-friendly home environment.

Exposed and accessible power points

Kids are naturally curious, and they’ll often get themselves into dangerous situations without meaning to. Tampering or playing with easily accessible power points can lead to severe electric shocks, so all outlets should be protected with electrical outlet caps. These caps fit directly into plug sockets and prevent any item from being inserted into them, so they’re a simple solution to prevent disaster.

Loose or frayed cables

Loose cables around the house can be a temptation for younger children, who tend to chew on and play with anything in their reach. When these cables are old or frayed, this becomes a more serious issue, as chewing on or through live power cables can result in deadly injuries. Any loose cables should be tied down or hidden away from the reach of your kids.

In the case of frayed cables, these should be replaced as soon as possible, or repaired by a professional. Cables that are fraying often contain internal structural damage that is extremely difficult to repair unless trained.

Mains operated appliances

Mains operated appliances are directly connected to a power supply, and while they aren’t inherently risky, leaving them plugged in around children is. This is especially important for appliances plugged in near water like hair dryers and shavers. Not only can these cause a trip hazard when not tied down, if they get knocked over and fall into water, they can cause extreme electrical shocks.

When using electrical appliances around water, be sure to unplug them after use and store them safely away. If an accident does happen and your appliance comes into contact with water, don’t touch it. Instead, turn off your power at the source to retrieve it and only continue to use the device once it’s been approved as safe by a licensed electrician.

Defective toys

Products for young children and babies are the second highest recalled products in Australia. While it’s easy to assume that toys for kids are designed to be safe, every year issues arise with products from both Australia and overseas. So, it’s important to make sure that toys given to children, particularly babies, are of acceptable quality.

Check that they’re manufactured by a trusted brand, and that any electronic functions are working as intended.

Toasters and microwaves

Have you ever lost your bread slice to the toaster? While you probably know the dangers of trying to retrieve it with a knife, a child might not be so thoughtful. Sticking any conductive implement in your toaster can cause electric shocks and burns.

Likewise, using a microwave incorrectly (e.g. heating food with a knife, fork or spoon inside) can spark a fire and cause injury. Teaching kids the correct way to use these devices or supervising them while they’re being used can be an effective preventative measure.

Outdoor power lines

While you want to encourage your kids to play outside, it’s important for them to play safely. In areas with power lines, warn your kids about playing with items that could touch power poles, like kites or drones. A kite string that’s wet or dirty may conduct electricity and cause electrical burns.

To stay safe, kids should play far away from powerlines.

These recommendations will help to create a safe environment around the home for your kids and reduce the risk of any electrical accidents. Teaching children of the importance of safety can be tough, but it will help them to grow up happy, safe and healthy.

Want to show your commitment to electrical safety in the home? Sign the Shock Factor pledge and share it around.