According to the Electrical Safety Foundation Institute, 2,400 children per year are admitted to hospitals for shock or burns received from electrical outlets, cords, or appliances. Electric shocks can lead to anything from minor to severe injuries, even death.
Toddlers are tricky creatures. They seem to have a knack for finding ways to hurt themselves as they learn about the world around them. Injuries due to electric shock are preventable, however, with careful planning and clever baby proofing. Here are five tips to help you keep your little one safe.
Cover those outlets!
It should be obvious as you look around your home that electrical outlets are the biggest source of shocks and burns to young children. After all, they are the most readily available source of direct current to be found.
Most childproofing kits on the market come with small plastic covers that you insert into an electrical outlet. These used to be the most recommended product on the market for keeping toddlers safe from fiddling with the outlet. The problem is, receptacles in an outlet can vary in size and fit, and unless these covers fit perfectly snug, a toddler can pull them out. Never underestimate a toddler!
The newest technology in childproofing, and one that is now required as of 2017 in all new home construction, are tamper resistant receptacles (TRR). These are electrical outlets with a safety feature that locks the receptacle unless a two pronged, standard sized electrical plug is inserted into it. If anything else is inserted into the slots, it will remain closed, allowing no contact with electric current. This means your toddler cant stick butter knife, hair pin, or anything else into the outlet and shock themselves.
Wrap or cover the cords.
Another source of possible electric shock are electric cords attached to appliances. If they get a hole or break in the insulation and touch bare wires, they can be shocked or burned. Children have also, in the past, bitten into a cord, through the insulation, touching the current running through the wires.
If a small appliance is not in use, it should be unplugged and put up so that the child cannot access it. If you have a small appliance that is used frequently and stays plugged in, you can purchase insulating wraps that go around the cord, ensuring that your child cannot touch bare wire or bite through the existing insulation on the cord. You should still try to keep the cord out of reach, as children can pull on them and cause injury or damage to the appliance.
Cords for large appliances
When you have a large appliance that is always plugged in and stays in the same place, you can find rubber stripping at any home store that is installed on the floor, over the cords. It is available in many colors and sizes to match your home’s décor. This keeps the cords covered and completely inaccessible to your toddler.
Bathroom appliances should be kept secure.
Small appliances that are used in the bathroom, especially those with heating elements such as hair dryers and curling irons, can hold electric current long after they are unplugged. Water is a great conductor of electricity. If an appliance is dropped into a bathtub, sink, or toilet, the results can be devastating. Keep these appliances unplugged and in a cupboard or drawer with a child safety lock engaged at all times to keep your toddler from dropping them into water.
Kitchen appliances, too!
This is the same idea as the bathroom. You should have child safety latches on kitchen cupboards and drawers, if you don’t already. All small kitchen appliances should be put into these drawers or cupboards to keep your toddler from playing with them and possibly putting them into the sink or even pouring liquid onto them.
It’s a dangerous world out there, but following these tips can help ensure your toddler is safe from injuries or shock from electricity and take at least one worry off your mind.