Discuss electrical safety with kids
Oftentimes, when the topic of electronics and children comes up, the conversation gravitates toward the pros and cons of screen time or maybe trading tips on the best educational apps. However, an often-overlooked topic is how to talk to your children about the potential safety hazards associated with electronics, sources of electricity and their environment in general. As soon as children can walk, parents and caregivers should discuss with them how to be safe around electricity, both inside the home and when playing outdoors.
Lane-Scott Electric recommends sharing these outdoor safety tips with children of all ages:
- Do not touch or go near a sagging or downed power line. Instead, tell an adult to call the electric utility to report it.
- Never climb trees near power lines.
- Fly kites, model airplanes, remote-control flying toys and drones in large, open areas, such as parks or fields, far away from power lines. If any of these items (or any item or object) gets caught in a power line, never try to retrieve it. Tell an adult to call the electric utility for help.
- Never fly kites or other toys when a thunderstorm may be approaching.
- Never climb a utility pole or tower. The electricity carried through this equipment could kill you.
- Never go into an electric substation for any reason. Electric substations contain high-voltage equipment, which can kill you. Never rescue a pet or retrieve a ball or toy that goes inside the fenced area surrounding a substation. Tell an adult to call the electric utility instead.
- Always stay away from outdoor electrical equipment marked “keep out,” “high voltage” or “danger.”
- Do not play, sit or climb on a padmount transformer, a.k.a. green box. Note to adults: While green boxes are typically safe to be around, it is better to leave this equipment alone just in case a box has become unlocked or vandalized, or the contents or box have become damaged in some way — by a roadside accident or unwelcomed varmints or ants. Please call us to report an unlocked cabinet or any signs of damage.
Additionally, share the following indoor safety tips with children:
- Do not play with electrical cords or plugs.
- Younger children should ask an adult before plugging in or unplugging something. In addition, never pull or tug on cords. Instead, gently pull the plug out of the wall by grasping the plug, not the cord.
- Do not touch or use cords that appear damaged.
- Keep cords away from heat and water.
- Never stick fingers, tongues, toys or other body parts or objects into electrical outlets or light sockets.
- Never sleep with phones, tablets or other electronics in the bed or under a pillow. The electronic device can overheat or experience a short in the charging cable, causing bedding to catch on fire, burns to the skin or electric shock.
- Never play with electronic toys or gadgets in the bathtub or other water.
- Never touch appliances, switches, outlets, sockets, cords or plugs with wet hands or while standing in water. Parents should keep towels near bathroom and kitchen sinks so little hands can be dried right after they are washed.
Many electrical injuries and fires can be prevented. It is never too early or too late to start talking about electrical safety with your children and loved ones.
Swimming and bathing: Teach children about electrical safety around water
Let children and teens know that water and electricity are a dangerous combination. Tell them to:
- Ask permission from an adult before swimming.
- Never go swimming when thunder and lightning are present.
- Be careful with electrical wires around pools, lakes or other bodies of water. Make sure cords are not frayed or worn.
- Avoid touching overhead electrical wires when carrying a long object, such as a pool skimmer or ladder.
- Never touch any electrical tools, appliances or toys when you are wet or standing in a puddle, pool or body of water. Many electrical shocks occur from people holding phones and tablets that are attached to chargers and plugged in while they are in the water or standing on a damp surface. This applies to both outdoor water recreation and sources inside the house (e.g., sinks and bathtubs).
- Stay out of the water if a pool light is flickering, and tell an adult.
- Get out of the water immediately if being in the water causes prickly, tingling or other unusual sensations, which could mean you are being exposed to stray electrical current. Report this to an adult as well.
- Never touch appliances, switches, outlets, sockets, cords or plugs with wet hands or while standing in water.