Teaching Your Kids Electrical Safety
Children Are Some of the Most Vulnerable to Electrical Hazards
Watching your children discover the world is exciting and magical. However, as parents, we have to work to ensure that our children can explore their surroundings safely. This includes teaching our children about electrical safety. From teaching them not to put anything in an outlet to what to do in the event of a fire, it is never too early to have a conversation about electrical safety.
Keep reading for some electrical safety tips for kids.
Don't Play with Electrical Outlets
From the time they can toddle around their nurseries, children love to figure out how things work. Electrical outlets are often very tempting for children who want to stick things inside the prongs of the outlet. This can be incredibly dangerous and cause serious electrical shocks. While we want to encourage curiosity in our children, we don't want them playing with electrical outlets.
Most parents are familiar with childproof covers for electrical outlets, but not every outlet in your home can be covered all the time. Outlets that are currently in use or frequently used often remain uncovered. In addition to having as many outlets as possible protected with childproof covers, you also want to teach your children not to play with electrical outlets.
Other important outlet safety tips for kids:
- Don't stick your fingers in the outlets
- Don't put foreign objects in outlets (such as bobby pins, silverware, etc.)
- Don't use an outlet if your hands are wet
- Don't use outlets while you are eating or drinking
- Don't ever plug in a damaged or frayed cord
- Don't yank on cords to unplug them
Electrical Panel Safety
As the connection point between your home and the power company's electric system, electric service panels can be incredibly dangerous. Children should be instructed never to play with an electrical panel. If your breaker box is located indoors and/or somewhere your children can access, we recommend installing a cover with a lock over the panel to help prevent curious children from investigating. You should also never have a child help you with a DIY electrical project. The risks are too great. If you are working on something and need help, always call a licensed electrician.
Electrical Safety Around the Home
Outlets aren't the only electrical hazards in the home that children need to be on the lookout for. They should also be taught how to use electrical appliances and lighting safely. For example, you should make sure your children know never to plug in an electrical device with wet hands or use electrical appliances around water.
Additional electrical safety tips:
- Don't put flammable objects (like clothing or blankets) on top of lighting fixtures
- Keep flammable objects away from personal heating devices, like space heaters
- Do not leave personal heating devices (like space heaters, electric blankets, etc.) on overnight
- Make sure all lights and electric appliances, and devices are off and unplugged when leaving the house
Outdoor Electrical Safety
Electrical safety extends beyond your home to the outdoors. Outside you will find power lines, transformer boxes, and more. Making your children aware of these things and instructing them to steer clear of electrical components can help them stay safe when playing outside.
More outdoor electrical safety tips:
- Do not fly drones or kites around power lines
- Do not climb trees around power lines
- Do not play on or around transformer boxes
- Do not dig in the ground around transformer boxes
- If you see a downed power line, stay far away from it and get an adult
What to Do In Case of an Emergency
Teaching your children how to respond to an electrical emergency is vitally important. They should know that if they see or smell signs of smoke or a fire, to leave home immediately and call 911 from a safe location (such as a neighbor's house). You should also teach your children the signs of an electrical problem and instruct them never to try and resolve an electrical issue independently. They should always keep at a safe distance and report the problem to an adult.
Tell your child to find you immediately if they see any of the following:
- Scorch or burn marks around outlets
- Heat coming from an outlet
- Sparks coming from an electrical device
- Smoke or the smell of burning wires
- Noise coming from your breaker box
- Flickering lights
- A buzzing sound when a light is turned on, or an electrical device is plugged in
Similarly, if they discover that an outlet that normally works has stopped working, they should let you know as soon as possible.
Get Your Kids Involved!
One of the best ways to reinforce electrical safety in your kids is to get them involved! Have them help you test smoke alarms every month, and have them help you change the smoke alarm batteries annually. You can also have them turn off all the lights at bedtime or when you leave the house for the day.
Another way to reinforce the importance of electrical safety is to teach your kids about electricity and how it works. There are many online resources, from YouTube videos to online games and tutorials, aimed at children and which take them through a wide range of topics. These resources can be found for all age groups, and you may find you enjoy them too!
Having trouble with your electrical system or have a question about electrical safety? Reach out to Lightning Bug Electric for guidance. Our licensed electricians have the information you need to keep your family and your home safe from electrical problems.