As a parent, there are a million things you’re worried about when it comes to your children. Electrical hazards are another worry to add to the list. There are a lot of ways you can improve your home’s electrical safety for your children.
Your little one is a magnet for trouble and sometimes it might even seem they go searching for it. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 80% of all children admitted to the hospital for electrical injuries suffered those injuries at home!* Thankfully, you can prevent your children from getting in harm’s way by following these solutions to potential electrical hazards in your home.
Keep Electrical Devices and Appliances Out Of Reach or Locked Down
You can tell them not to play with the TV all you like, but sometimes little hands simply can’t keep to themselves. Avoid a nasty injury by ensuring you mount big appliances to the wall. Smaller devices like the toaster should be out of sight and out of reach your child’s curious hands.
Not sure what they might be tempted to reach for? A safe guess would be anything in their line of sight! Sit on the floor and look at what you can see from down there. Make sure anything that could be pulled down is pushed out of reach of curious little hands.
Secure Power Cords for Safe Use
Upgrade your power cord management and electrical safety at home with some zip cords! Keep your cords tucked away neat and tidy away from wandering hands who will try to pull them out. If you use extension cords, run them around the edges of the room and secure them with tape so they’re not a tripping hazard.
If you’re not using your power cords and boards correctly, these also run the risk of overheating and causing electrical fires. Ensure your cords are well ventilated. This means keeping them out in the open and not under rugs or carpets. They can also overheat if they are wound around themselves or each other, so be sure to detangle and unwind them completely.
Make sure you’re not overloading power boards or piggybacking double adaptors as this also has the potential to overheat and cause electrical fires. This will put yourself, your child and your home in danger.
Install RCD Safety Switches
Ensure your switchboard is set up with RCD safety switches to protect your home from electrical faults. Instead of you or your little one being on the receiving end of an electrical fault, the safety switch will turn off and cut power to the circuit.
Safety switches are mandatory across many states in Australia. This helps to reduce the risk of electrical fires, electric shock, serious injuries and death.
Don’t assume you can fix an electrical fault, contact a local electrician who can get the job done to regulation and without compromising your home and family’s safety.
Test Your Safety Switches Regularly
You can’t just install safety switches and leave it at that. You need to make sure they actually work. Every 3 months or so, simply press the ‘test’ or ‘T’ and ensure that the switch works! If not, it’s time to give that local electrician another call.
Use Childproof Plugs On Your Powerpoints
Possibly the easiest way to increase your home’s electrical safety for kids is to use childproof plugs on your powerpoints. These plastic covers fit snugly into your powerpoint’s outlet and are difficult for smaller hands to pull out.
While they might be annoyed that you’ve thwarted their plans of sticking their fork into the mysterious white box on the wall, you can at least be confident they’re safe from electrocuting themselves unintentionally with the powerpoint!
Don’t Attempt DIY Electrical Work
Not only does DIY electrical work run the risk of creating dangerous electrical hazards in your home, it is also illegal. From light installation to switchboard upgrades, ensure you’re using a licensed electrician to carry out electrical work in your home.
Licensed electricians know basic electrical safety and can ensure your home is free from faults that put your family and home in danger.
Practice What You Preach
Whether it’s for good or bad, kids learn the most by watching and copying your moves, actions and words. If you’re pulling plugs from the wall by the cord or leaving electrical appliances in wet areas, they will too. Set a good example by following the electrical safety tips you’re teaching them, and they’ll follow them too!
*Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: Tovell, A, McKenna K & Harrison JE, 2018, Electrical Injuries: Hospitalisations and deaths 2014-15 and 2015-16, Canberra, Injury research and statistics series no. 117, Cat. No. INJCAT 197