Electrical Safety in a Home with Children

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Electrical Safety in a Home with Children


Young children are inquisitive and fast. There is no telling which corner of your house they will be exploring in the next minute. On the other hand, older children and teenagers are tech-savvy. On average, a teenager today is surrounded by 25% more electrical gadgets than their parents did at that age.

Where survey indicates that almost half of all house fires are caused by electrical faults, it comes as a shock therefore that most parents stop at plug covers when considering electrical safety for their homes. What is even more alarming is that what they consider as the ultimate protection is actually a safety hazard!

Every parent needs their children to be in a safe environment. To avoid disastrous or fatal experiences, let’s get in the know of what it is like to have a home that is electrically safe for children.

Introduction.

Electricity is among the best man-made inventions. Yet, very dangerous and fatal, considering how closely we interact with it every single day. It poses the risks of causing burns, fires, shocks, and death.

In our homes, our children are exposed to these risks through electric switches, sockets, plugs, and gadgets such as phones, TV sets, iron boxes, hair driers and curlers, and ovens.

Knowing and teaching our children how these everyday gadgets can harm and even kill is extremely important.

What Can You Do to Make Your Home Electrically Safe for Your Children

For electrical safety in a home with children, it is crucial that you do the following.

  1. Do not rely on socket-outlet plugs – Contrary to what you might have thought, these are in fact more dangerous than uncovered sockets. Modern sockets and extension cables have an inherent safety mechanism in the form of insulation shutters on the live and neutral points of the outlets. On the other hand, socket inserts being sold are highly unregulated. And some children will quickly learn how to maneuver or to remove them, endangering themselves as they do so.
  2. Switch off and keep away electrical appliances and gadgets that are not in use. Have lockable cupboards or out-of-reach storage spaces to keep blenders, juicers, hair curlers and straighteners, toasters, iron boxes, hot water heaters, and so on.
  3. Electrical cords and plugs that are not in use should also be placed out of reach of small children. Other than being electrical hazards, they are also tripping hazards.
  4. Anchor to the wall or floor big appliances such as refrigerators, TVs, portable sound systems, and cookers.
  5. Keep cooking stoves, cookers, gas cylinders, and gas outlets out of reach – Children tend to innocently play with gas knobs and they can turn them on without you realizing it. Also, ensure that handles of cooking pans are turned out of reach of curious little helping hands while you cook.
  6. Keep dangling cables/ cords tucked away and out of reach.
  7. Replace broken or naked cables. And repaired frayed wires, loose or damaged sockets, and switches.
  8. Switch power off, unplug and put away chargers that are not being used. eg phone and laptop chargers. – Children can either put these in their mouths or place them in fluids, risking electrocution.
  9. Check and ensure that electric cables are not pierced or pinched under furniture or doorways. Do not run electrical cords under rugs.
  10. Unplug and put in a safe place hot gadgets immediately after use. Eg. Iron boxes and water heaters.
  11. Ensure that all your electrical appliances are safe to use.
  12. Ensure that all gadgets that overheat when plugged in are used in an open space to enable heat to escape.
  13. Keep extension cables/cords off the floor. – They are a shocking and electrocution hazard in case of an accidental water spill.
  14. Keep all electrical gadgets and appliances away from water. Do not drink or encourage your children to take their meals while near electrical gadgets.
  15. Do not overload socket outlets.
  16. Do not yank off electric cords from sockets. Instead, carefully pull off the plugs.
  17. Keep flammable liquids like alcohol, spirit, or ethanol locked away in a safe place.

Electrical Safety Measures to Teach Your Children.

Handle by the plug.

  1. No yanking off electrical cords or chargers from the sockets. Use plugs as handles.
  2. Never put objects or fingers in power outlets.
  3. Never place metal objects inside electrical gadgets like ovens, blenders, or toasters.
  4. To unplug an electrical appliance before cleaning it.
  5. To never touch an electrical device with wet hands.
  6. To never place phones under the pillows as they sleep, whether they are charging or not. – As phones are prone to overheating, placing them under heat insulations such as pillows means that the heat will have nowhere to escape. The heat will keep building up to the point of burning or explosion.
  7. Not to connect and use earphones on charging phones.

In addition to the above precautions, there are two safety measures that you should confirm in the building that you live in. Or in places where your children are bound to spend time, such as nurseries and daycare centers.

  1. RCD Protection.

It is necessary, and a requirement that every house should have an RCD (Residual current device) protection device installed. RCDs are considered to be lifesaving.

RCD is a device that monitors the flow of electrical current through a circuit. Where an imbalance in the flow is detected, e.g., because someone has touched a naked wire, the device switches off the flow of electricity through that circuit immediately; preventing further damage or injury.

RCDs are available as portable small devices that plug into normal sockets, can be in the form of the socket itself, or can be installed in the main consumer unit, offering protection to the whole household. 

  1. Circuit Breakers,

All domestic electrical circuits done professionally will have this installed as part of the consumer unit. If you open the fuse box of your house, you might be able to identify this. There is likely to be one big switch and consecutive smaller ones labeled MCBs (Miniature circuit breakers.)

The circuit breaker offers safety by cutting off supply to your house (tripping) in the case of an overcurrent. This can be caused by short- circuits, improper grounding, and faulty wiring.

Conclusion.

It is paramount for every parent to have basic knowledge of electrical safety at home to keep their children protected.

As you have seen, simply putting out of the way your phone’s charger can mean the difference between life and death. And it will cost you absolutely nothing extra to keep your children safe from electrical hazards.

To protect our children and households from electrical accidents and fires, it would be prudent to take the first step by doing an electrical safety audit in your household. Print out this article and use it as a guide to putting all electrical devices and cables in order. Also, take your older children through the 7 important lessons above.

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