Electrical Safety for Kids: Child Proof Outlets & Other Tips

child proof outlets

Electrical safety is important for everyone, but it requires extra care and attention when you live in a household with children. Kids of all ages, but especially the younger ones, are naturally curious and they are always looking for ways to explore the world around them. This is why little things like child proof outlets are very important. So is teaching them about electricity and laying ground rules for safety.

While curiosity is natural, it can also be dangerous when it refers to electricity and there are too many childhood injuries and deaths related to electrical accidents. Reports show that approximately 20% of all electrical injuries occur in children, with the highest incidence in toddlers and adolescents.

Through education and awareness, you can keep your children safe and provide them with valuable knowledge. Below, you’ll find 5 electrical safety rules and tips to keep your kids safe.  You’ll teach them about electricity and the importance of electrical safety at the same time.

1. Install Child Proof Outlets

child proof outlets

This is one of the first and most important steps one can take to ensure electrical safety for kids. While many people baby proof their homes before the baby comes, most of the time electricity is an afterthought. However, as mentioned above, electrical accidents in toddler are quite numerous, so if you haven’t already, make sure to install child proof outlets throughout the house.

Having caps and covers on all outlets will help prevent your kids from inserting toys or any kind of objects in them, which protects them from electrical shock. Sometimes, plastic inserts can be used to secure outlets, but these can also be pulled off and many toddlers stick them in their mouth. Consider buying Tamper Resistant  (TR) outlets that don’t allow any foreign objects to be inserted or simply block them using your furniture. 

“I always use Leviton because they are high quality. People can buy these at Home Depot, but [they] should be installed by a licensed electrician”, says Todd Penna, owner & CEO of Penna Electric.

There are other ways to childproof the house in order to ensure electrical safety. Cords, too, represent a hazard for toddlers, as they can trip over them but also bite on them or stick the plugs in their mouth. If you’re using extension cords, try to hide them behind pieces of furniture or use a hide-a-cord. 

2. Place Dangerous Appliances Out of Reach

kids playing with appliances

Dangerous appliances should always be out of reach of small children, especially heat producing appliances like microwave, toasters, and hair dryers. Just to be on the safer side, you might want to consider keeping all appliances away from small kids until they’re old enough to learn how to operate them.

Even electrical devices like DVD players, smart home devices or speakers, should be placed on a shelf or behind a barrier. Even though they’re not heat-producing appliances, they still have cords and, while plugged it, they still carry electricity.

3. Enforce Electrical Safety Rules

When children are old enough to understand rules, then it’s a good idea to have house rules around electrical safety. The earlier you’re able to enforce these, the better. This should go hand in hand with explaining electricity to your kids and the risks it involves.

Generally, these are electrical safety rules to cover:

  • Never stick fingers or objects into outlets
  • Never place electronics near the shower or bathtub, or anything that has a cord and plug
  • Never pull a plug from an outlet by the cord
  • Never place drinks on electronic devices, where they could spill
  • Never place metal objects in toasters
  • Always obey warning signs

It’s important for children to understand the seriousness of these rules, but that doesn’t mean they need to be scared. The most important thing is for them to remember that you can never be too safe, and the rules are there to protect them.

4. Teach Kids Electrical Safety Outdoors

electrical safety outdoors

While electrical safety at home is very important, so is staying safe when playing outdoors. It’s wise to teach your kids that electricity exists everywhere, not just inside outlets, appliances and cords, but also outside. 

Power lines and poles represent one of the most common dangers when it comes to electricity outdoors, as kids can fly kites near power lines, climb on poles or play around broken or fallen lines. Teach your children to stay away, in all shapes and forms, from substations and power lines. Climbing trees that are close to power lines is also not safe. Kids should also not touch big, metal transformer boxes with warning signs.

5. Make It Fun

Rules are not fun for kids, and a lot of times they disobey them. This is why it’s important to teach kids about energy and electricity at the same time you make and enforce these rules. The teaching process is something you can make into a fun activity.

Kids love challenges, and you can easily turn energy or electricity activities into games, with point systems and sticker rewards. Every time they save energy or adopt a safety behavior, they could get rewarded. Soon enough, this behavior will become second-nature.

You can also make it fun by associating facts with whimsical stories. For instance, if they leave the light on for an hour, a 40W light will use approximately 04 kilowatt hours. That may mean nothing to them, but if you tell your kids that it would take them two and a half days of riding their bikes to recreate the same energy, then they might not leave their lights on anymore.

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