Electrical Safety for Children

To help keep kids electrically safe at home and at school, the Electrical Safety Foundation International has a brochure "Oh No! Not More Rules!!" for safe dorm room living for college students, and a Home Electrical Safety Quiz poster for younger children.

"A lot of deaths, injuries and property loss can be avoided by following some simple rules," said Michael G. Clendenin, executive director of the Foundation. "College students in particular, living on their own for the first time, typically bring with them computers, stereos, refrigerators, lamps, cell phone chargers and a host of other electrical items, all destined for the same outlet on an old electrical system."

Some important rules to keep in mind:

Have cracked, frayed, and damaged cords and appliances repaired at certified repair centers, or clearly label them as "damaged and electrically unsafe" and discard them.

Never run power cords across traffic paths or under rugs or furniture.

Never tack or nail an electrical cord to any surface.

Never use extension cords on a continuous basis; remember that they are temporary solutions only.

Be careful not to overload power strips and surge suppressors. They don't provide more power, just more access to the same limited capacity of the circuit.

If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse or trips a circuit breaker, or if it has given you a shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.

Halogen desk and floor lamps are fire risks; replace them with more efficient, cooler-burning fluorescent lamps.

Other electrical safety lessons for younger children include:

Turn off electrical items before unplugging them, and unplug items by firmly grasping the plug itself; never yank the cord.

Put safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.

Make sure extension cords have safety closures to help prevent shock hazards and mouth burn injuries.

Be careful, while plugging in or unplugging, not to touch the metallic prongs with your finger or any other item you are holding.

Keep all liquids away from outlets and electrical items.

Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn't fit.

Never let anyone stick anything but a plug into an outlet.

Don't put anything into an outlet except a plug.

Courtesy of NAPSnet.