With all the electronics and appliances your family uses every day, it is important to teach your family how to be safe with electricity, especially when you have young children. Besides keeping your home free of electrical hazards, you should make sure everyone knows the rules they need to follow to use electricity smartly. Here are some tips to keep everyone in your home safe around electricity.
Outlet and Extension Cord Safety
Teach your children never to play with plugs or outlets in your home, and make sure you use plug protectors on any unused outlets. This can prevent your child from playing with a plug or an outlet and possibly becoming electrocuted. Your body is made up of 70 percent water, so it is an excellent conductor of electricity. Your child can be electrocuted if they stick their finger or something metal into an open outlet. The current in an outlet is enough to seriously injure kill them. Approximately 4000 people end up in the emergency room each year from electrocution injuries, and one-third to one-half of these are children.
It is important to take the steps to make your home a safe place around electricity. Store electrical cords out of the way of your children. Long appliance cords should be wrapped up and tied into a bundle so they don't tempt your child to pull on them. Pulling electrical cords out of the wall at any angle can cause the plug to spark. And don't lay extension cords across walkways in your home, even if it is placed under a rug. The cord can get yanked out of the wall if someone trips on it, causing sparks. You should only remove a plug from an outlet by pulling the plug, not on the cord.
If you notice an outlet feels hot or has sparking inside when it is in use, shut off power to the outlet with your home electrical box and have the outlet repaired as soon as possible by a licensed electrician. This type of sparking can occur because the wiring behind the outlet is wired wrong or bad and can cause electrocution or cause a fire in your home.
Electrical Appliance Safety
First, make sure any appliances and electronics you bring into your home are approved and inspected by a reputable consumer laboratory, such as the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which performs safety tests on electrical components you can use in your home. Make sure you maintain and periodically check the electronics you have in your home. Look for any cords that are cut, frayed, or damaged because they can cause a fire. Don't ever try to repair any damaged or broken electronics yourself. Always hire a professional to do the repairs or discard the item.
Be sure to leave several inches of space around any appliances and electronics that get hot while they are plugged in. This can include television receiver boxes, microwaves, computer monitors, and televisions. It is not a good idea to drape or place any toys, blankets, or other items on top of these appliances because they need air circulation around them so they don't get too hot and start a fire. If you store any electronics inside a cabinet, make sure the cabinet has adequate ventilation to allow the heat to escape.
Don't place or use electronics near the sink or bathtub in your bathroom or near your kitchen sink. You or your child can become electrocuted if water comes in contact with an electronic appliance you are using. Also, unplug any unused appliances and electronics and wrap their cords up so they don't become a hazard. Place lamps on stable surfaces so they don't risk the chance of being knocked over or pulled from their power outlet.
Use these tips to help keep your family safe with electricity. If you need help with any damaged electronics or wires, contact an experienced electrician from a company like Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.