You may or may not already know it, but your home is a playground for your little ones.
However, your children may not realise the dangers that surround them, especially with regards to electricity.
From outlets to appliances, electrical dangers surround them daily.
But with these dangers, it’s important to ensure your children are aware of the dangers of electricity, how to correctly use electrical appliances and how to stay safe.
Recently we wrote a blog regarding electrical safety during Christmas, but we felt it was limiting the other 11 months of the year.
Instead, since we’re electrical experts, we decided to share some of our knowledge and provide you with a short guide and some tips on how you can keep your kids electrically safe in your home all year round.
Brief History of Electricity
Decades ago, we had to rely on fire to find heat and read books to entertain ourselves. We had no televisions or iPads to keep us amused. The only lighting we had to brighten our rooms came from candles or natural sunlight. To heat ourselves, we had to depend on the open fires we had in our living rooms and to wrap up in extra layers when going to bed.
Before a practical use of electricity was discovered, people from across the globe were fascinated by lightning. The natural phenomenon provided a show-stopping performance which displayed Mother Nature’s true power. Simultaneously, some of the greatest minds were captivated by this power and wondered whether or not it could be captured and put to practical use.
It wasn’t until the mid-18th century that the path to electricity began to take shape.
Benjamin Franklin’s “Kite Experiment”
In 1752, American Founding Father and renowned inventor, Benjamin Franklin, decided to test a long theory if his. He theorised that the natural spectacle, lightning, was electric and that it could be conducted and captured.
One rainy, stormy night, Franklin decided to set out to prove his theory was correct.
He began by strapping a metal key onto the strand of string connected to a kite. He theorised that the metal on the key would conduct electricity from the lightning, flow through the string and give him an electrical shock. He then ran outside into the electrical storm and waited in anticipation.
To his amazement, the key conducted electricity and an electrical current was passed through the key, down the string of the kite and Franklin received an electrical shock. Although he proved his theory, Franklin was extremely lucky not to be seriously injured.
From this day on, Benjamin Franklin’s “Kite” experiment began to shape the world.
Over the next hundred years, scientists from all over the world would use Franklin’s discovery to capture and generate electricity to create light, warm homes and power other devices for practical use.
How Electricity Benefits Our Lives
Without the brilliant mind of Benjamin Franklin, you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Without electricity, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the many luxuries we enjoy on a daily basis. We wouldn’t have our favourite TV shows to binge, our favourite music to get lost in, or play our favourite video games we spend hours engrossed in.
Electricity is also central to the functionality of our modern society. Hospitals, air traffic control systems, sewage systems and many forms of communication are all highly-dependent on electricity. It only takes one major failure or attack on our power grids to completely shut down our country.
Think about it; how helpless do you feel when you experience a power-cut?
Dangers of Electricity
Although electricity has provided us with so many benefits, it’s still a force to be reckoned with. Electricity is extremely dangerous and it should be used and approached with caution.
Misuse of electricity can result in serious injury or possibly worse. That is why it is important to teach your kids about the dangers of electricity from a young age so they are well-equipped to protect themselves growing up.
As a parent, you have probably been shocked by static electricity before, from rubbing your feet across a carpet then touching a metallic surface.
However, a real electric shock is much more painful, and a lot more dangerous. If you receive a real electric shock, you may experience:
- Stiff muscles which make it almost impossible to pull away
- Constricted lungs which make it harder and more difficult to breathe.
- Blood vessels tighten and heartbeat becomes interrupted.
- Burns on the skin begin to appear where the electricity has entered and left the body.
These are but a few of what could happen. Sounds scary right?
Humans are made up of around 70% water, and since electricity flows much easier through water, our bodies are great conductors of electricity. It is also worth noting that electricity will always try finding the quickest and easiest path to the ground.
If you happen to receive a shock, you may think that you can quickly pull away and not get hurt. Unfortunately, the effects of electricity can be felt almost instantaneously so it could be near impossible to pull away. You may have heard before that you should never touch someone who is being electrocuted, and for good reasons. When you touch someone who is being electrocuted, you will find yourself becoming part of the circuit, and you too will also feel the effects of electricity flowing through your body.
It is due to these dangers that we wanted to help you inform your children of the dangers of electricity. We want to help provide you with advice on what you should look out for around your home and what you should teach your children, even from a young age.
Electrical Safety Tips for Your Kids
Children are very curious. From a young age, they begin to develop a sense of the world and the objects around them. However, some of these objects may cause serious injury to your child when approached, especially when it comes to electricity.
To keep your children safe from any possible electrical hazards, we strongly recommend following these electrical safety tips to keep your kids aware of the dangers of electricity.
Avoid Placing Fingers or Other Objects in Outlets and Appliances
To younger minds, electrical appliances, sockets and outlets are mysterious.
Never leave your children unattended around electrical appliances our outlets and never allow your child to place their fingers or any other objects in the electrical appliances or sockets.
Never Remove a Plug by its Cord
Plugs are designed to be plugged in and removed from the plastic casing that the cabling is within, and not by the cord. Pulling on the cord to remove a plug could expose wiring which may still contain static electricity. Once touched, this static electricity could give a nasty shock to your children.
Always Read and Obey Electrical Warning Signs
Manufacturers place warning signs and messages on packing for a reason. It is crucial that you are aware of the electrical dangers that are associated with the appliances you purchase or regularly use. It is important to teach your children of these warning signs and to make them aware of the dangers associated with these appliances.
Misuse of electrical appliances could result in serious injury, or possibly even worse.
Keep Metal Objects a Safe Distance Away
Metal is one of the most electrically conductive materials in the world. Since metal remains a good conductor of electricity, it is important to avoid placing any metal object near electrical outlets – this includes sticking one inside an electrical appliance or socket.
You may find that placing metal objects nearby an electrical outlet can cause static electricity and your children could receive a horrible shock if touched.
Remember, children emulate what they see and hear, so if you happen to get your toast stuck in the toaster, do not use a knife to try and get it out.
Never Touch Light Switches or Electrical Appliances/Devices If You Are Wet
Electricity and water is a deadly mix.
Although light switches are protected with a plastic casing, they can still cause your children serious injury if they touch the switches with wet hands.
If the water on their hands penetrates the casing and comes into contact with one of the terminals, your child may experience an electrical shock.
Always remind your children to dry off their hands before touching light switches or other electrical appliances and devices.
Keep Electrical Appliances and Devices Away From Sources of Water
Never leave electrical devices near water, regardless of the time or situation. If your child enjoys listening to music when taking a bath, make sure any speakers or devices are in a separate room.
If your children love playing video games on your mobile phone or tablet, teach them to keep their drinks away from the devices.
Electrical Safety with Keith Gunn Electrical Solutions
Keith Gunn Electrical Solutions is an established electrical contractor with over 30 years’ experience in the industry. We have built up extensive knowledge over the years and we want to ensure that residents across Edinburgh and Scotland are aware of the dangers of electricity. If you are still unsure of ways in which to child-proof your home or what you can do more to protect your kids from electricity, please get in touch with us. We are more than happy to provide you will some helpful electrical advice. You can get in contact with us by giving us a call on 0131 225 3205, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out our contact form.