How to Teach Your Children Electrical Safety
Harnessing the power of electricity is one of the most magical experiences of the modern world. Thanks to the foresight and courage of Benjamin Franklin—many years ago—human beings can accomplish amazing things with electricity.
It’s exciting to share this magic with your children. But working with electricity comes with inherent hazards. As such, it’s imperative to teach your young explorers ground rules before they explore with electricity or accidentally stick their fingers in an outlet.
Read on to learn how to teach your children electrical safety, and keep your loved ones safe and sound.
The Big No-No’s
Depending on your child’s age, you may not want to inundate them with too much information. Instead, focus on the “big five” safety rules first, so they have a better chance of remembering the most important ways to stay safe.
Electricity and Water
Never combine electricity and water. This is possibly the most important rule of all. Kids are known for their messes. Kids are constantly washing their hands or spilling drinks … since some of this may happen near outlets, their chances of mixing electricity with water are unfortunately high.
However, it’s essential to instill how dangerous this is to children at a young age. It’s important to teach them that water and electricity are a bad mix, which can severely hurt or kill someone.
Thankfully, there are many ways to protect your children from mixing electricity and water. Try to explain it to them as clearly as possible. Some parents make it into a game or sing a song. It all depends on how old your child is and how well they can retain information.
Of course, there are other ways to help keep children safe. Childproof electrical outlet covers are easy and affordable. It’s also always a good idea to have an adult present when children are near water—such as in a bath or a pool—to ensure they don’t drop anything electrical into the water.
The Dangers of Outlets
Even without adding water into the mix, outlets can be incredibly hazardous for young children. Children tend to want to stick their little fingers into everything.
That’s why it’s so important to teach your child about the dangers of outlets as soon as they can understand the repercussions. Show children exactly how an outlet works and talk about what is safe to put inside an outlet and what should be avoided. It’s also good to set up rules, like encouraging your child only to use an outlet when you are present.
If your child is very young, you don’t want to risk having an accident. Instead, you can install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (or GFCIs) in your outlets or even electrical outlet covers. Electrical outlet covers are a great tool to prevent little fingers from entering a socket.
A GFCI is a circuit interrupter that prevents an electric current from coming into contact with a human. It works by sensing when a body comes in contact with a shock and then automatically shutting down the current to prevent electrocution.
Installing GFCIs in your home is paramount to keeping your child safe.
Another aspect of electrical safety is teaching your child to use caution when using electrical appliances.
Some items can be especially hazardous. These include:
- Toaster ovens
It can be challenging to teach your kids ground rules, because these items are in common use in the home. While you can make outlets safe with electrical outlet covers, it’s much harder to childproof a microwave or toaster.
Make sure to teach your child to keep all cords away from water before plugging them into an outlet. Also, tell them not to put cables into their mouths or touch them with wet hands.
Five Safety Rules
Once you get the big rules out of the way, there are still other, smaller ground rules that you need to impart to your child. While these ground rules aren’t as obvious, they are still an important part of electrical safety.
Some additional rules to teach your child are:
- Don’t yank cords to unplug appliances
- Don’t fly kites or drones near power lines
- Don’t touch electrical boxes
- Don’t touch live or loose wires
- Don’t plug too many items into an extension cord
These rules are important, although sometimes they can be easy to forget.
To err on the side of caution, try to be present whenever a young child plays outside. Outfit your home with proper outlet covers, and try to scope out any play areas to make sure there are no wires, low-hanging power lines, electrical boxes, or other electrical hazards nearby.
Be especially careful when children get older and start climbing trees, as trees can often interact with power lines.
Using Media to Teach Your Children Safety
Just because some of these concepts may be complicated doesn’t mean your children can’t understand them. One of the best ways a child can absorb complex information is through entertainment and media.
Luckily, we live in an age where there is no shortage of songs, dances, and video clips to help explain things to children. If your child is too young to be reasoned with, they may better understand electrical safety by watching some educational videos online.
Using their favorite toy or stuffed animal may also be a great way to keep your child engaged. Simply use a stuffed animal to teach your child about ground rules.
You also may want to read books about electrical safety together. If you can turn the learning experience into quality time—making it engaging and fun—your child will be more likely to understand the important message of electrical safety.
The best thing to remember is that it often takes a while for children to absorb and retain a large amount of information. So don’t expect them to learn it all at once!
Instead of explaining everything once, try breaking up the safety tips into smaller chunks. Remember to repeat the most important points many times over a long period to help them remember.
It’s also important to strike a balance between seriousness and fun. You want to keep the discussion light while still conveying how dangerous electricity can be.
While it may seem harsh, it’s essential to be honest. Tell your child that sticking fingers in outlets or mixing phone cords with water can be deadly.
Teach Them About What to Do in an Emergency
No matter how hard we try to avoid emergencies, sometimes they happen regardless. When this happens, your child needs to know what to do. This information could save their life.
Teaching children when to call 9-1-1 is an essential step in keeping them safe. Make sure you show them how to do this (by using a toy phone) and have them press the buttons to help them remember. Often in emergencies, people freeze up. If your child can dial 9-1-1 using muscle memory, this might save a life.
Also, take the time to explain which circumstances need a 9-1-1 phone call. Your child should know that mom or dad can help with most emergencies, but firemen and policemen at 9-1-1 can help during “big” emergencies.
Another tip is to teach them what to do during an electrical fire. Of course, this is a bit more complicated than some of the other lessons about electrical safety, so this may only be appropriate for older children.
Still, it’s crucial to impart what steps to take in case of an electrical fire as soon as your child can understand.
Remember, using water on an electrical fire only worsens the fire. Instead, use a dry fire extinguisher to put out flames. You can also use baking soda if you do not have a fire extinguisher.
How to Childproof Your Home in Mint Hill, NC
Luckily, there are many precautions parents can take to keep children safe. Outfitting your home with proper GFCI and providing proper outlet cover safety is a great way to childproof your home.
But there are other ways to childproof your home from electrical hazards.
Make sure there are no loose wires around your home, and keep all electronics out of reach. After using electric appliances such as blenders or toaster ovens, put them back where they belong, so your child does not accidentally interact with them.
Get in Touch with GB Electrical Services Today
At GB Electrical Services, we know what it takes to keep your children safe from electrical hazards in the Mint Hill area and beyond! When you call us, we’ll come to your home to outfit it with the latest safety tools and precautions, such as outlet cover safety devices and GFCIs.
If you have any concerns about keeping your family safe from electrical hazards, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’ll happily answer any questions you have to help keep your children safe.
For homeowners near Mint Hill, give us a call to arm your home with the latest electrical safety tools and precautions. Pick up the phone today, and give us a call!