Have you ever experienced electrical injury in the home?
I remember growing up in the ’80s and life seemed so carefree. Parents didn’t hover much. We were latchkey kids.
I remember one time when my brother, cousins, and I were playing in the basement. There was a loose electrical outlet and when my cousin plugged in our radio, he got zapped. Instead of yelling for my mom and informing her that there was danger downstairs, my cousin told my brother to plug in the radio. He plugged in the radio, and then they both got zapped. We could see the spark from the electricity and the boys got shocked. The momentary jolt of energy scared them for a moment, then they thought it was funny and wanted to do it again.
Now that I am a parent and have had time to process this experience over and over in my head, I am even more convinced that it is so crucial to keep children safe from electrical injury in the home.
When I got pregnant back in 2008, I made sure to buy whatever I could to baby-proof our house. Every single outlet in the house had to have electrical outlet covers. Friends with little ones have told me horror stories of their kids sticking all kinds of objects into electrical outlets. I wanted to avoid the scary experiences like that all together. One friend’s toddler stuck a butter knife into a socket. Let’s face it…Kids are curious by nature and like sticking objects into whatever crevice possible.
Fortunately, Little One wasn’t really interested in electrical outlets. Thank goodness, because though I was extremely diligent when it came to safety and watching her with electrical outlets, she did enjoy helping out with housework and cooking. While she was never a kid who liked to plug and unplug cords, she did like to operate kitchen appliances and gadgets, and she still loves vacuuming. She was and still is obsessed with using the blender and mixer.
Though I am very pleased that Little One is independent and likes to make her own smoothies and vacuum the living room, I always check to see that she is being safe. I make sure that she plugs and unplugs things properly.
I also had an experience being zapped as an adult and wanted to make sure my little one never experienced it. I unplugged an appliance and somehow got zapped. It was startling, but I was not injured. Still, I promised myself when we ever had a child, we would do our best to keep him or her safe from electrical injury.
Admittedly, I was worried about my brother and cousins zapping themselves by unplugging the radio, but didn’t think it was a huge concern. It was a little zap. No harm, right? Well, I recently learned in reading this Electrical Safety Authority information, that there is no such thing as a safe shock.
Here’s a snippet from their website:
The majority of Ontarians say they’ve received a shock. And although people may brush off a little zap from a toaster or a buzz from an outlet, new research shows that even low-voltage shocks can have serious long-term after effects like memory loss, anxiety and pins and needles.
Here are some simple tips to make your home a safe-zone for you and your kids:
- If your outlet has a missing or broken cover plate, replace it immediately. Outlet covers create a barrier between children and exposed wires.
- Install tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles to protect younger children from shocks. They have shutters that cover the plug slots and help prevent little fingers or objects from going into the outlet.
- Small kids often want to explore new things by putting them in their mouths. Keep cords away from little hands and mouths. This is a serious shock hazard—and no shock is a safe shock.
- Teach older children how to plug in and unplug safely. Never overload outlets by plugging in too many cords. Use an approved power bar that has surge protection instead. When it’s time to unplug, don’t yank cords from the wall. This can damage the appliance, the cord and the outlet
- If a cord is frayed, replace it. Tape won’t protect kids from a shock. Extension cords—which should only be used temporarily—are prone to cracking and fraying, which can lead to a shock or fire.
- Water and electricity can be a lethal mix. Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)—the ones with the reset button—in any room with water (ie. bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms) to help protect from a shock.
- If you have electrical work that needs to be done in your home, hire only a Licensed Electrical Contractor for the work.
My husband is a farmer and does a lot of handiwork around the home and farm, but for major things like electrical work in the home, a licensed electrical contractor is the only way to go. I don’t want to chance anything when it has to do with electrical work done in the home. Also really important is teaching our child to plug and unplug safely and not overload outlets with too many cords.
Because the topic of keeping kids safe from electrical injury is important to me, I’m giving away (1) $50 home improvement store gift card to help make some of the home fixes outlined in this post! Just comment below and let me know how you keep your kids safe from electrical injury! Open to residents of Canada (excluding QC). Ends October 31, 2017. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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Disclosure – This post was written in partnership with Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). All thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.