Child-proofing-your-home-from-electrical-accidents

October 6, 2021

According to a 2018 report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, hospitals reported up to 308 hospitalised cases with electrical injuries between the ages of 0-24. The team at Maines Electrical have put together a list of the most common electrical incidents  involving children and the steps that you can take today to childproof your home from electrical accidents.

The most effective and inexpensive method to prevent electrical accidents from occurring in the first place is to frequently educate your children about the hazards of electricity. We all know that children are experts at getting into danger. To help you educate your children on electrical safety, we’ve compiled a list of the most common injuries and how you can talk to your children about minimising the risk of injury:

Source of Most Common Electrical Injuries:

● Sticking objects into electrical devices:

○ Children are notorious for mistaking everyday objects for shape sorters. Whilst shape sorters are great for improving children’s hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, sticking a foreign object into an electrical device can lead to serious injuries.

○ Our Advice: For young children, we recommend teaching them to never stick their fingers or objects into appliances, outlets or light fixtures. To further childproof your house, we recommend blocking any unused outlets with plastic inserts or blocking them with furniture. At Maines Electrical, we also advise our clients to check outlets around the home to spot any loose covers. If you find a loose cover, make sure to tighten them for added protection. If you’re uncomfortable with tightening the outlet covers, then get in touch with us today. Our friendly electricians are always happy to help.

● Water and electricity:

○ Whilst water itself isn’t a conductor for electricity, the impurities present in rainwater, tap water and seawater are charged, allowing for electricity to flow through the liquid. Liquids also pose a greater threat than solids, as they have the ability to spread over surfaces such as your skin. This makes water and electricity a particularly fatal mix.

○ Our Advice: Depending on the age of your children, we recommend you talk to your children about the dangers of using devices in wet areas such as bathrooms. Make sure that your children understand that if their hands are wet that they should avoid touching any source of electricity such as outlets, appliances and light fixtures. Childproofing your home also involves teaching your children to keep their distance when they spot water near appliances or sources of electricity. Their first action should always be to seek help from an adult.

● Damaged or faulty appliances:

○ Faulty and damaged appliances are one of the most common causes for electrical problems. Understanding the important role that circuit breakers and safety switches play in keeping your home, appliances and family safe is key to creating a solid childproof plan for your home.

○ Our Advice: Take the time to regularly check your home for damaged or frayed cords and appliances. By law, all dwellings are required to have a safety switch (or Residual-Current Devices) installed in their switchboard. RCD’s are designed to prevent electrocutions and fires through constantly monitoring the currents that are flowing through both the live and neutral wires. If a fault is detected on one of your circuits, then the device should turn the power off within a 0.03 of a second. But these safety switches may not prevent you from an electric shock, in fact the device will only protect you if the safety switch is installed on that specific circuit. The team at Maines Electrical suggest that clients consider installing safety switched on all circuits of their home for better protection. Circuit breakers, on the other hand, are located in your main switchboard and are there to protect the wiring and circuitry of your home. While circuit breakers and safety switches are commonly mistaken for each other, it’s important to note that circuit breakers do not provide protection from electrocution. They are designed to switch off the electrical supply to a load, such as your lights.

Below is a video from WorkSafe Queensland explaining the importance of safety switches:

https://youtu.be/g4qWbtSCxtc

● Learning when to switch off:

○ We can all agree that unplugging or powering off devices when they are not in use can help prevent injuries caused by electricity. But to adequately childproof your home, we recommend educating your children about the dangers of handling electrical devices/appliances and the importance of switching off prior to unplugging.

○ Our Advice: Using electrical appliances comes with great responsibility. Teach your kids to power off prior to unplugging, to never clean or work on devices or appliances that are plugged in, refraining from using appliances during thunderstorms and to switch off when not in use.

If you would like to learn more about childproofing your home or if you would like to test your safety switches or circuit breakers then get in touch with Maines Electrical on +61 (07) 380 767 69 or visit maineselectrical.com.au for a quote.

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