Although electricity is extremely dangerous for adults, it is especially dangerous for kids, not only are kids more susceptible to the dangers posed by electric shocks, but they also don’t know how to avoid being electrically shocked like most adults do. So, teaching your kids electrical safety is paramount. But, as any experienced parent can tell you, teaching your kids how to avoid doing something is easier said than done. So, here are some good tips that you should make sure your kids know.
For very young kids
When children are very young, you should start them out with really simple electrical safety tips. The goal here is to keep the tips very simple; if you go to0 in-depth or are too complicated, you risk losing your kid’s attention and they will not absorb the lessons. So, here are some things every young child should be taught:
- Keep your hands to yourself. Make sure your child knows to never stick their fingers into appliances, light fixtures, or outlets. Kids love to explore and touch things, so this is one of the more important things to stress.
- Make sure your kid understands that if their hands are wet, they should never touch outlets, appliances, light fixtures, or any other source of electricity. Also, make sure that they understand that if they see any water close to appliances, that they stay away from that appliance until an adult can come and clean the water.
- If possible, you should never leave wires out in the open, but if you have to, make sure you stress to your child that wires are not toys. Electrical wires can often be brightly coloured, so you want to make sure that all the kids in your house understand how dangerous wires can be.
- Teach your child to never rip out an electrical plug. This may seem like an oddly specific lesson, but believe it or not, suddenly ripping out a plug can be dangerous for two reasons. One, ripping out a plug can damage the internal parts of the outlet, which makes it easier for the outlet to malfunction in the future, which can lead to electroshocks and electrical fires. The second reason is that when you rip an outlet out of the wall, there is a chance that the electricity may arc. Arcing electricity can not only shock someone, but it can also strike carpets, drapes, and furniture, which leads to electrical fires.
As children get older, it is a good idea to explain to them the basics behind how electricity works (assuming they are not being given these lessons in science class, but even then, a refresher would never hurt). Teaching kids about the basics of electricity will make them understand that electricity is something to be very careful around.
How to teach electrical safety to your children
Teach them how electricity goes into the home
It is a good idea to take your kids around the house, showing them how and where electricity enters your home. Go to your breaker and show them what each switch does, show them how plugs, wires, and outlets work. Go outside, and show them how and where electricity actually enters your house.
Teach them warning signs that they should look for
Teach your kids the warning signs that they should look for which. Make sure that they know that they should never use an appliance with frayed or exposed wires, as this could result in serious electrical shocks. Make sure that they know to never use an outlet that has a faint burning smell or that has a discoloured outlet cover, this indicates that something is wrong with the outlet’s wiring. Teach your kids that they should never plug multiple appliances into a single outlet using a power strip; that may not seem that important, but many people do not realize how dangerous overloading an outlet can be (see our post here for more information on the dangers of overloaded outlets).
Making your home safe for kids
No matter how often you stress electrical safety, there is still a chance that your kid may not listen to you. So, it is important that you make sure that any potential electrical hazards in your home are taken care of. Here are some easy ways to make sure your children are safe in your home.
- If there are any empty or unused outlets in your home, you will want to find a way to block them. You can buy plastic inserts that will block the outlet and keep any prying fingers away. But, if you think that is too much of a hassle, you can always find ways to block the outlets using chairs, tables, or couches.
- It is also a good idea to go around making sure all the covers on your outlets are secured. If you find any loose outlet covers, make sure you tighten them. You do not want to risk having your kid rip the outlet cover off, not only can they hurt themselves, but they could also do damage to the wiring inside the outlet.
- If you have a lot of power strips lying around, and you do not want your child fiddling with them, you can buy some cheap plastic covers online which will stop your kid from mistakenly pulling out the plugs. When possible, try and hide power strips behind desks or furniture.
- If you are worried about young children (or anyone else for that matter) tripping over long extension cords, then I recommend getting a cheap, plastic duct cord cover (they can be gotten online, and they should be available at most hardware stores). These duct cord covers can be a great buy, even if you do not have kids.
- If long cords are an issue, you may also want to consider investing in a plastic cord shortener; they are cheap and easy to find, just like plastic duct cord covers.
- Finally, make sure any wires in your house are completely out of the reach of children.
You can also have a look at Raising Children’s guide for more tips to make your home safe for children.