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Spring into Electrical Safety with Your Children National Safe Kids Week
“Children often do not understand the danger of electricity and electrical equipment. In their innocent and imaginative minds, what can be potentially dangerous may go unnoticed, or even appear enticing and fun,” Safe Electricity Director Molly Hall said. "Take an opportunity to point out overhead power lines and any other electrical equipment to children and explain what they are.”
Safe Electricity recommends teaching children to follow these rules:
When designing a tree house or outdoor play area for children, take preventive precautions before starting your project. Do not install playground equipment or swimming pools underneath or near power lines. Installation of either will require some digging; be sure to call your local underground utility locating service to have buried lines marked so you can avoid serious injury and damage.
Protect all family members from serious shock and injuries by installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) on outdoor outlets and in interior room where water is present. GFCIs shut off power instantly if they detect a problem. Use portable GFCIs for outdoor outlets that don’t have them. GFCIs are affordably priced and found at hardware stores.
Be careful using electrical appliances outdoors, even if plugged into GFCI-equipped outlets. Never touch an electrical appliance while in a pool or hot tub and keep all electrical appliances at least ten feet away from pools, ponds and wet surfaces. Teach your kids that it is never safe to swim in a pool or lake when a storm is brewing. Also keep in mind that you should never use appliances with extension cords that are frayed or damaged, and always be sure the ground prong is intact.
“Water often attracts kids, but water and electricity never mix,” warned Hall. “Teach older children to exercise caution before plugging in a radio, CD player, or any electrical gadget outdoors, and never leave any electrical appliances outside.”
When you are done using a radio, CD player or any other electrical gadget outdoors, bring it inside with you. If it rains, the electrical device could get wet and cause an electrical shock when used later.
“Spring showers bring more than tempting puddles for kids to splash in, they can also leave electric hazards behind," Hall added. “Flooded areas are never safe spots to wade or play in, and may be in contact with energized electrical equipment or fallen power lines.”
Make sure all of your family members know to stay away from downed power lines and wires, and tell children to report any fallen or dangling wires to an adult. Downed power lines are extremely dangerous for children as well as adults. Always assume that any power line is fully charged and stay far away. Call your local electric company immediately if you or your child encounters a downed power line, and include this number with other posted emergency phone numbers.