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Electrical Safety Basics for Children

Important lessons to share with youngsters

Parents should teach children a valuable, potentially lifesaving lesson: Respect electricity.

Here are electrical safety basics every child should know:

Mixing water and electricity can kill you. Teach children not to use electric toys or other devices near water or in the rain.

Plugging multiple devices into a single outlet or power strip can create sparks and even cause a fire if that outlet can’t handle the load. Teach kids to plug into surge-protected power strips or to use one device at a time and unplug the rest.

When they unplug those devices, they should grab them by the plug, not the cord. Yanking a cord out of an electrical outlet can damage the appliance, the outlet or the plug.

Electrical cords can be strangling hazards and might cause electrical burns if they are misused. Make sure youngsters keep cords away from their mouths and necks. It’s best to hide cords so they aren’t a temptation.

Electrical outlets are receptacles for electrical plugs only. Children should know from an early age that it’s a no-no to put foreign objects or fingers into plugs. Sticking other items into an electrical socket can lead to electric shock or death. Use childproofing outlet covers.

Flying kites and climbing trees are never safe activities near power lines. If a tree has a power line running through it—or if it’s even within reach of the line—it’s not a safe place to play. If a kite gets caught in a power line, the child should not tug on it to get it loose. The string could conduct electricity and seriously hurt the child.

Electrical substations are fenced off to keep children and animals out.

If a toy or small pet gets inside the fence, the child should tell a parent or teacher, who can call a trained worker to come and retrieve it.