Preventing Electrical Accidents with Children
Electricity can be defined as a form of energy that flows through wires to provide heat and light, and power to machines and, while it is the backbone of many economies around the world, it is certainly a hazard around the home to babies, children and even adults.
The main problem with electricity is that it cannot be seen, heard or smelt. It can, however, be felt when touched which is why it is such a danger.
Circuit BreakersIf your home is modern, then it will almost certainly be fitted with a special device which will prevent your child from suffering an electric shock by detecting if they have touched a live wire and then tripping the current. These devices, typically called RCDs or Earth Leakage Circuit Breakers, have saved many thousands of lives.
You can have these circuit breakers fitted to your house by a qualified electrician. You can also buy them for the garden if you are using a lawnmower or hedge trimmers, for example. If you accidentally cut the cable while you are mowing the grass and your toddler touches the cable, the device will trip without any harm coming to your child.
Having said that, electrical accidents do happen and inquisitive children are at risk from touching wall outlets and even biting on electrical cords (it has been know!). To prevent these kinds of accidents, follow this advice:
- Cover all electrical outlets with plug sockets guards. They are cheap and easily obtainable.
- Place lamps and appliance cords out of reach of you children, perhaps behind heavy furniture.
- Where an appliance has a removable electricity lead, which is often the case with portable stereos, make sure that your child cannot pull the plug out. If they do and they then put it into their mouth, it could be very serious.
- Always check appliances and cables for damage.
- Beware of the importance of DIY Safety. Never leave any electrical power tools where small hands can get at them. Always put them away when you are not using them.
- If you're not qualified then don't interfere with electricity. As stated earlier, it is not visible so you don't know if it's there without special equipment. If in doubt, call for a qualified electrician.
Immediate First AidIf you suspect that your child has had a shock then Check For Burns, a blackened mark or blisters at the point of contact or the point of exit. If the shock is more serious, say from biting through an electrical cable, your child may be knocked unconscious and may even their heart has stopped beating. If this is the case then you should immediately turn off the power, call for an ambulance and Administer CPR.
Finally, you should always contact your doctor or hospital to have your child checked over if they have had any type of electrical shock, as even the smallest of shocks could cause internal injury.