The dangers of electricity in our homes can affect us all, but electrical safety is important for the entire household. Babies, toddlers and young kids are extremely inquisitive and want to explore their surroundings, but won’t know or understand the dangers of electricity. Electricity can cause burns, shocks and even death, with 1,380 fatalities and injuries caused by electrical fires last year. That’s an average of four a day. Over 70% of childhood electrical injuries happen at home, making the danger from electricity very real. While supervision will prevent many potential accidents, extra measures can be taken to protect kids at home. Understanding why electrical maintenance is important is the first step to ensuring electrical safety for kids, but it is a good idea to be aware of some of the key dangers around your home.
With the increase of tech devices for kids, the dangers from electrical cables has increased. Of all the gadgets in the average home, more than 35% belong to kids and teens under the age of 18. Figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that over half a million 6 year olds now own an iPad, which is 63% of all six year olds in Britain, and gaming consoles are popular with all ages. Even if your kids don’t have their own phones or devices, exposure to electronics is at an all time high, with the number of electronics used at home continuing to surge. A kids room can have up to 10 electrical items, increasing the number of potential hazards. Power cables on devices can be just as dangerous as power lines if proper safety precautions aren’t followed or maintained. Young kids and toddlers will see phones and tablets as toys and may grab at a cable while playing, increasing the risk of electrocution. Making sure cables are tidy and out of sight using cable covers and ties can prevent little fingers getting hold, and turning off devices when they aren’t being used reduces risk of electrical fire.
Damaged Phone Chargers
Phones and their chargers are a staple in our homes and lives, and the average age to own a mobile phone is now 7 years old in the UK. But there have been many incidents of damaged phone charger cables causing serious injury and death when they could have easily been replaced. iPhone chargers are notorious for fraying, the protective covering of the cables splitting and exposing wires. This increases the risk of short circuiting which not only damages your phone but can potentially cause an electric fire. Many people continue to use these dangerous cables, assuming that electric tape is a reliable fix, or not realising the dangers and not fixing them at all. Replacing these cables completely is the only safe option, but don’t be tempted by cheap prices. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute conducted research into low-end charging cables and found that out of 400 cables only 1 percent passed basic safety assessments. Researching brands and investing in quality cables can safeguard electrical safety for kids at home.
Electricity and water are a lethal combination, and with summer on the way the kids will likely be playing in the pool. Most swimming pools have a variety of electrical components, including heaters, lights, temperature control panels and pumps, which should all be wired through a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). The GFCI is a circuit breaker, which stops the flow of electricity when things go wrong. But GFCIs need maintenance just like any other electronic device. Faulty or damaged GFCIs are inadequate at providing electrical safety and need to be checked, especially when they involve water.
If you have an older pool it’s possible that the wiring has corroded or worn out over time. It is recommended that homeowners have their pool electronics inspected at least twice a year, ensuring a licensed electrician carry out the inspection. People who clean and service swimming pools are not licensed to inspect or fix the electrical components, so an experienced and reliable electrician is crucial for a safe summer pool experience for your kids. While cases of people dying from swimming pool electrocution are rare, they aren’t unheard of. Making sure you get your pool checked is the only preventative action you can take to ensure a safe swimming pool.
Cookers and ovens were the leading cause of electrical related fatalities and injuries in the UK last year, and they’re not the only offenders. Statistics show that between 2010 and 2016 there were 1,598 fires caused by fridges and freezers in England, just over 4 a week, and 1,476 fires were caused by faulty appliances. While your kids are unlikely to be using these goods themselves, they are often situated in high traffic areas like your kitchen and pose a risk to the entire household.
After the Grenfell Tower tragedy the risks of electrical fires was thrown into the public eye and people became more aware of the dangers involved with white goods. While companies have been urged to discontinue production of highly flammable plastic-backed white goods, they are still widely available and still in use in many homes across the UK. The government has a list of recalled products, but going without a fridge or washing machine isn’t always viable and some are reluctant to hand over their faulty goods. If you are concerned about the safety of a product stop using it immediately and inform the manufacturer or your local Trading Standards office. Ensuring the electrical safety of your kids means staying vigilant and not taking chances with faulty products.
Kids are commonly injured by poking objects inside appliances or unused power points and unprotected sockets can potentially lead to serious injury. Outlet plug covers can be a first step to ensuring electrical safety at home, especially if you have kids, but not all plug safety covers are fire regulated. Common complaints include the cover not fitting the socket properly, being loose and overheating, which are all serious fire risks. However, there’s no real data to show any incidents of socket cover related injuries, so if you choose to use safety covers for your sockets make sure you do your research and go for a trusted supplier.
If the uncertainty of socket covers puts you off, there are other ways to tackle the electrical safety of power outlets in your home. Furniture can be placed strategically to block outlets and cables from view, and unused outlets should be completely obscured if possible.
Ensuring Electrical Safety for Kids
Electrical safety for kids can be achieved by paying attention to the condition of your electronic devices and replacing worn or damaged equipment. It is important to know The Tell-Tale Signs of an Electrical Fault and If you notice anything unusual about your devices like sparks, overheating or damage, contact an electrician. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
First Strike Electrical offers a variety of first class electrical services across London. Our professional electricians are fully qualified and on hand 24/7. For more safety tips read our Top Tips for Electrical Safety at Home. For more information on our services or to book an electrical inspection, fill out our contact form or call us on 0203 633 4536.