One of the most significant concerns for parents with young children is electrical safety. A child sticking a metal object into an outlet can be a severe safety hazard leading to a deadly electrical shock. Children can also suffer injuries if they pull on an electrical cord and cause an appliance or piece of furniture to fall on them. How do you ensure your home is safe for your kids?
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Understand The Dangers
The dangers vary depending on the kid’s age, but in general, any child who is old enough to be curious about outlets and cords is at risk of electrical injury. Inspect your home for possible hazards and correct them. If possible, carry out a professional inspection. Talk to an electrician in Hilliard, OH, or in your locality. They’ll identify potential dangers and recommend solutions.
Keep All Cords and Plugs Away from Kids
Hiding cords or placing them out of reach is often the best way to keep kids safe. If that’s not possible, use cord covers. The rubber or plastic tubes can be placed over cords to make them less appealing to kids. They also make it more difficult for kids to accidentally pull on a cord and cause an appliance or piece of furniture to fall.
Install Tamper-Resistant (Tr) Receptacles
TR receptacles have spring-loaded covers that block access to the electrical contacts unless something is inserted into both slots simultaneously. That makes it more difficult for kids to stick something into the outlet. The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires TR receptacles in new and remodeled homes.
Keep Electrical Appliances Away from Water
Water and electricity don’t mix; therefore, keep electrical appliances away from water sources, like sinks, tubs, and toilets. If an appliance falls into the water, unplug it immediately, and don’t use it until it’s dry. Additionally, never use appliances with wet hands or while standing in water.
Unplug Appliances When Not in Use
Even if an appliance is turned off, it can still pose a danger to kids if plugged into an outlet. To be safe, always unplug appliances when not in use. If an appliance has a frayed or damaged cord, don’t use it until after repair by an electrician.
Note that cords wear out over time, which causes fraying and eventual breaking. Inspect all cords regularly, and replace any that are frayed or damaged. Never try to repair a cord yourself. Always call an electrician for help.
GFCIs are unique outlets that prevent electrical shocks. They constantly monitor the flow of electricity and shut off the power if they sense an imbalance. When there’s a ground fault, for instance, when a child accidentally plugs a cord into a live outlet, the power will shut off before anyone gets hurt. GFCIs can be installed as part of your home’s electrical system or standalone outlets.
Use Caution Around Extension Cords
Extension cords are a common cause of electrical accidents. They’re often used in places with no permanent or enough outlets, like in the middle of a room or outdoors. They’re sometimes left out in the open, where kids can trip over them or accidentally pull them down. Overloading is another common hazard that causes overheating and fires.
Teach Your Kids About Electrical Safety
Talk to your kids about electrical safety once you’ve made your home as safe as possible. Explain why outlets and cords are dangerous but use language and concepts they can understand. For example, you might tell them that sticking a metal object into an outlet is like giving themselves a “hug” from an electric eel. With these tips, you’ll ensure your home is as safe as possible for your kids.
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