Being a new parent is wonderfully exciting, yet it can also be extremely anxiety-inducing. Young kids have a tendency to get into anything and everything — and for a while, the older they get, the more curious and destructive they can become.
There are many household hazards parents should be especially careful to shield young children from. One particular hazard worth paying attention to is your home’s electrical system. According to ER visitation data in the United States, electrical hazards are one of the most common dangers to kids, with over 2,400 children receiving treatment for electricity-related injuries every year.
By following some simple safety rules and teaching your kids about the potential dangers of electricity, you can help prevent accidents like electrical shock and electrical fires. Here are eight home electrical safety tips for kids to help create a safer environment for your family.
Practice Responsible Electrical Education
Begin teaching your kids about the dangers of electricity at an early age. Explain that working with electricity is a job for experts and that power lines, electrical cords, and electrical appliances are not toys and can be hazardous if misused. Also, teach them to come to you ASAP if they notice an electrical fire smell or notice other danger signs.
Safeguard Electrical Outlets
Small children are naturally curious and may be tempted to stick objects or fingers into electrical outlets. Before your bundle of joy arrives home from the hospital, purchase and install outlet covers or safety caps on all outlets in the home to prevent your little ones from accessing these potentially dangerous areas. Ensure that the covers you choose are sturdy, difficult for children to remove, and large enough to not become a choking hazard.
For an added layer of protection, consider investing in TRRs (tamper-resistant receptacles). TRRs are designed to prevent foreign objects from being inserted into the electrical outlet, reducing the risk of electric shock. They feature spring-loaded shutters that only open when equal pressure is applied simultaneously to both slots, such as when plugging in a cord.
Invest in GCFIs & AFCIs
Adding plastic caps and TRRs to your outlets is a smart safety step, but it’s even better to have your electrical company install ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs). GFCIs are essential for preventing electric shock in areas where water may come into contact with electrical devices, such as bathrooms and kitchens. AFCIs, on the other hand, help prevent electrical fires caused by arcing faults in electrical wiring. Installing these safety devices in your home can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.
Keep Appliances Out of Reach
Electrical appliances can be very dangerous if handled incorrectly. Ensure that items like hair dryers, flat irons, and electric razors are kept well out of children’s reach and far away from sinks, bathtubs, and other water sources to reduce the risk of electric shock. Make sure countertop appliances like toasters, microwaves, and slow cookers are out of reach as well so that they won’t be unplugged or switched on by little explorers.
Establish Rules About Electricity
Young children understand concrete rules more clearly than abstract guidelines. Here are a few examples of “electricity rules” you can establish in your home:
- Tell children to never touch electrical wiring, play near power lines, or overload electrical outlets.
- Do not allow young children to use electrical devices unsupervised. Have them come to you for help instead.
- Create designated “safe zones” around electrical devices, such as televisions and computers, where your children know they should not play. This will help prevent accidents caused by tripping over cords or knocking over devices. If your children are too young to follow safe zone rules, block off these areas with baby gates.
- Make sure that children understand the importance of keeping cords away from heat sources, water, and sharp objects, and ensure older children understand how to properly unplug and plug in cords. Unplugging should always take place where the cord meets the outlet, rather than by tugging on the cord itself.
Have an Emergency Plan
In the event of an electrical fire or other electrical emergency, it’s essential to have a plan in place. Make sure your children know how to call for help and what to do if they encounter an electrical hazard. Practice your emergency plan regularly to ensure everyone knows their role and can act quickly in a crisis, and save the information of your nearest 24/7 electrician so it can be accessed quickly.
Schedule Routine Electrical Inspections
Regular inspections by a licensed electrician can help identify any issues with your electrical system, such as outdated electrical codes or faulty wiring. This ensures that your electrical system is up-to-date and safe for your family. A licensed electrician can also provide assistance with child-proofing outlets, moving electrical cords out of reach, and more.
Stay Safe With EP Electric!
By following these seven simple steps, you can create a secure home environment for your family. At EP Electric, our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to helping families throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding areas maintain a safe and functional electrical system. Contact us today for more information on how we can help keep your family safe!