Electricity is basically safe, provided you follow a few common-sense rules. But that’s no cause for complacency. Get it wrong and you run the risk of starting a fire, getting an electric shock or even being electrocuted. Find out how to keep your children safe with electricity.
Did you know?
Faulty electrics start up to one in six house fires. Causes include loose wiring, damaged cables and leads, and faulty or misused electrical appliances.
Overloaded sockets can start house fires too – especially if one of the electrical appliances is a kettle, as they use lots of power.
Water and electricity are a potentially deadly mix. But, in a 2007 survey, one in three parents admitted that their children didn’t know you should never touch electrical items with wet hands.
Children can get an electric shock from using mains-powered electrical appliances in the bathroom, from touching exposed wiring or from using a metal knife to get stuck toast out of the toaster.
Electrical sockets do not pose a significant threat to young children. Legislation requires all sockets to meet stringent safety requirements. Young children are unlikely to have the dexterity or patience needed to be able to access live parts inside the socket, as they are protected by a shutter. Little fingers won’t fit.
Socket covers may stop young children plugging in heaters, hair straighteners and other appliances that can cause nasty burns – or even start a fire – but don’t rely on them as socket covers are not regulated. It’s much better to make sure the appliances are safely put away!
- Check electrical plugs, sockets and flexes for scorching or fraying. Get them repaired by a registered electrician if there’s a problem. Teach children not to touch exposed wiring.
- One plug per socket is safest if you want to avoid an electrical fire.
- If you have to use an adaptor, use a ‘bar-type’ fused adaptor with a lead. This puts less strain on the socket than a ‘block-type’ adaptor you plug straight into the socket.
- Think twice before running your washing machine or dishwasher overnight. If there’s an electrical fault it could catch fire while your family is asleep.
- Switch off electrical appliances before going to bed. Unless, like fridges and freezers, they’re designed to be left on.
- Unplug your mobile phone charger when you’re not using it, so it can’t overheat and cause a fire.
- Make sure children know that water and electricity don’t mix and teach them not to touch electrical items with wet hands.
- Teach young people not to use mains-powered electrical appliances in the bathroom, or anywhere else that wires could trail into water. This includes hairdryers, hair straighteners and plugged-in radios – even if they are plugged in outside the room.