By Hannah Haseloff
Electricity is a wonderful invention that makes our lives infinitely easier, but electricity can also be very dangerous if proper precautions are not practiced. Did you know that 70 percent of child-related electrical accidents happen in the home while under adult supervision? In accordance with National Childhood Injury Prevention Month, Mr. Electric® has some tips to help you keep your children safe.
Thousands of children are hospitalized every year due to swallowing batteries. Children are especially attracted to the small button type. Store batteries in proper containers inside a locked cabinet, and always monitor children with electronic play toy use.
Each year numerous children are injured and electrocuted by playing with Christmas tree cords. Putting up a baby gate or a small piece of furniture in front of an outlet or tree can keep small children away from danger. Never leave the Christmas tree lights on when you are not home. This applies to the lights on both real and artificial trees.
Small children can easily pull heavy or hot appliances on top of themselves if the cords are not kept out of reach. Use command hooks or cord ties to keep long cords away from little hands.
Cover all electrical sockets with socket covers to prevent children from sticking objects into them. Make sure the covers are not so small the child could choke on them or easily pull them out. Also check your installation, as faulty installation can cause a fire.
Curling irons, blow dryers, straighteners can cause burns and even fires if left turned on unattended. Young girls blow drying, straightening or curling their hair can get serious burns, so teach them to be cautious when using these appliances, and be sure to follow your own advice as well.
Never leave an iron on unattended, as this presents both a fire and safety hazard. Each year, children are severely burned from irons left turned on and left unattended. Do not leave an iron on a piece of clothing for too long, as this also presents the risk of causing a fire.
Teach children to stay away from the oven and other hot appliances in the kitchen. Never leave the oven door open when it is turned on so those wandering hands don’t wind up inside the hot space.
Never leave appliances such as cell phones and computer cords plugged in. Small children could easily put the end of the cord in their month and get electrocuted.
A smoke alarm is your first warning in case of fire, so it should be properly maintained. Change smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, and check your smoke alarm once a month to make sure it is working. Teach young children what the alarm means. Have an evacuation plan in case of fire, and run drills with your family.
Practice proper electrical etiquette by teaching older children hoe to use appliances and properly plug and unplug electric devices. Use only one power strip per outlet to avoid overusing and overheating your electrical outlets. Always keep cloth and other flammable products away from your electrical outlets, as they can present a fire hazard, and keep electrical appliances away from water.
Keep in mind that small children are not the only ones at risk of electricity-related injuries. While children 14 and under are at the greatest risk, even adults can accidently electrocute themselves. Visit Electrical Safety Foundation International’s website or Safe Kids.org for additional electrical safety tips for you and your family.