The Safety Sentinel- IMUA and SafeElectricity.org
Electricity can seem like magic for children. With the flip of a switch, the home is flooded in light or an appliance jumps to life. Curious kids need to understand that what they cannot readily see can pose the risk of an accident if they are not careful and safe.
The Academy of Pediatrics says 86% of reported home electrical injuries happen to children between the ages of one and four, so indoor safety is just as important as outdoor safety. Start by modeling safe behavior, and taking time to explain hazards and how children can stay safe.
The Academy says the largest number of electrical injuries involve outlets, extension cords, and small appliances. Review carefully these indoor electrical safety tips for parents and caregivers:
- Install outlet covers or tamper resistant outlets. Demonstrate the correct way to insert and remove an electrical plug from an outlet. Ensure kids know to pull from the plug, not the cord.
- Extension cords can be an electrical fire and trip hazard. Route your cords out of high-traffic areas and behind furniture. Unplug extension cords and chargers that are not in use. Remember, extension cords are for temporary use. If you consistently need extension cords in a particular area, have a professional install new receptacles so you can do away with cords.
- Teach children that biting an electrical cord is dangerous, as well as touching damaged cords and electronics, and those with visible wires. Use ground-fault (GFCI) safety outlets and cords when possible.
- Always store your appliances and electronics out of reach of little hands.Instruct children not to use common appliances such as toasters and microwaves without assistance. Make sure they know inserting a metal object into the slots of the toaster or microwaving a metal plate on high could endanger your entire family.
- Tell kids that electricity and water are a deadly combination. Keep all appliances stored far from sinks, bathtubs, and other water sources. Install ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) for extra protection near spaces that may become wet.
- Reduce risks for your family by using the highest possible quality for your electronics. Ensure electronics and extension cords have been tested by a certified testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories. Look for the safety label.