Kids can get in a lot of trouble around the house, especially our littlest ones. That’s why we’re careful to put gates on the stairs, to turn pot handles away from curious hands, and to keep toxic materials out of their reach.
But how about electricity? Do you do what it takes to keep electrical hazards away from your children? Have you prioritized safety where electricity is concerned?
Even with kids who’ve passed the toddler or early elementary ages, there are important things to learn about outlets, lights, fuse boxes, power lines, and other things that have to do with your home’s electrical system. Really, it takes just a few minutes to give your kids the lowdown on how to properly handle electrical items and electricity in your house…and those few minutes can save lives!
Check out online resources
Our kids spend a lot of time on their phones, computers, and tablets, so that’s a logical place to turn for a little instruction on the dangers of electricity and how to respect its power.
Begin by looking for electrical safety videos. There are a ton of them online and they are geared towards a variety of age groups. For example, this YouTube video is just 4 minutes long – perfect for short attention spans – and covers basics like overloading outlets, staying away from power lines, and mixing water and electricity. Kids Safety – YouTube
Similarly, this video gives tips for safety while being interactive. Children have the opportunity to play along and spot problems in the home that could prompt sparks and cause a fire or could cause someone to be electrocuted. Kids will love it! P.I. Plug’s Home Safety Video – YouTube
In addition, sites like this Electricity Interactive Games and Activities – Woodlands Science Zone (primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk) are ideal for older kids who may need a refresher about the power and dangers of electricity, organized in a fun way that will keep them busy for a while AND remind them how to handle electrical power.
Choose books about electricity
Most kids love to be read to, so this is the ideal opportunity to choose some selections about electricity so they can learn how it works as well as how to respect it. Your local library likely has a science area in the children’s section where you can probably find books about electricity that are suitable for elementary-aged kids. How Does My Home Work? by Chris Butterworth offers a good introduction to the electrical systems inside a home. You can discuss the book after you read it together.
For preschoolers who might prefer a “story” to a factual book, look for picture books about electricity that can introduce the subject and then allow to you expound on specifics about safety. A particularly good one is Oscar and the Bird by Geoff Waring. Ask your librarian for other suggestions or peruse Amazon or other sites for more ideas.
Tour your house and talk about electrical safety
When you believe your children are old enough to understand the rules associated with electrical safety, take them for a “tour” of your home and point out things they should avoid, actions they shouldn’t take, and times when it’s best to ask for help. And don’t limit this to inside the house. Kids love spending time outdoors and can get in trouble there as well.
Once you’ve done that, it’s a good idea to establish some rules and to write them down so that your kids are constantly reminded of the proper way to handle electricity and all things around the house that require electrical power to function.
Some of these rules might be:
- Don’t be tempted to put anything into an outlet including forks, pencils or pens, fingers, or other items. (When you have younger children, of course, it’s wise to use outlet covers to avoid accidents that could be fatal.)
- Do not play with electrical cords or yank them as you unplug them.
- Don’t use electronics near water, such as a hairdryer near a full tub or sink. A good rule is to not plug in anything at all (including cell phones) when there is standing water nearby.
- Don’t overload outlets, extension cords, or power strips. Talk to your children about having too many things plugged in at the same place, which could cause a fire.
- When using new electronics, require they ask an adult for help before use it.
- When outside, avoid power lines. That means not climbing trees that are near lines or not flying drones (or good old-fashioned kites) near power lines.
- Never touch the electrical box inside a garage or elsewhere and never touch any sort of transformer outside the home.
In general, children should know that all electrical issues should be handled by adults until they are old enough to properly judge any risks. Having a different electrical safety chat with children at different stages of their lives means you can provide them with knowledge they can understand at certain ages.
For more information about safeguarding your home from electrical accidents, call the experts at Stapleton Electric at 778-985-9395.