Electrical Safety For Kids

Electricity can be counted as one of those modern marvels that nobody really takes the time to marvel at anymore. It has become such a staple in our society, and in our homes, that nobody really notices it until it suddenly goes out or it becomes a hazard.

And one of the main ways it becomes a hazard in the home is if a child gets curious and starts messing around with electricity. We all know it’s bound to happen; no matter how good of a parent you are, you’re only human. You can’t keep an eye on your kid 24/7. But you can teach your kids electricity safety, and make sure that curiosity only plagues the cat, and not your kid.

Have a conversation

The best thing you can do is have a conversation with your kids about the dangerous potential electricity has when it’s not used properly. Start with the basics:

  • Unplug something by pulling from the plug, not the cord. This is to prevent damage to the appliance, the plug, or the outlet itself.
  • Don’t overload your plugs. Be careful to not plug in too many appliances into one extension cord or outlet. This will reduce the risk of flipping a circuit, or causing major electrical damage to your home.
  • Don’t plug something in if water is involved. If you’re wet, standing in water, or near water, do not plug anything in. Electricity is looking for the fastest way to get to the ground, and water is an excellent conductor of electricity. It will travel through the water, and you, to get grounded.
  • If it’s not a power plug, don’t stick it in a socket. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Severe and dangerous shocks happen this way.
  • Be aware of power lines. Go outside and familiarize yourself and your kids with where the power lines on your property are located. If your kids are looking to fly kites or climb trees, make sure they are well out of the way of power lines.
  • Keep cords untangled and tucked away. This helps prevent the cords from fraying and your family from tripping!
  • Never touch exposed wire from a frayed cord. Encourage your kids to let you know if they see a frayed cord, and to keep their hands away from the exposed wiring.

Electricity doesn’t have to be a danger! Talk to your kids about electricity safety today.

Electrical Outlet Do’s and Don’ts

Proper electrical outlet safety is very important for maintaining a safe home. Following these outlet do’s and don’ts will help reduce the likelihood of serious electrical issues from occurring.

 

an uncovered electrical outlet in an officeDon’t: Plug in Near Water Sources

It goes without saying that electricity and water are not a good combination. This means you should be especially careful when using electrical appliances in the bathroom or kitchen. If you do use an appliance near a sink, make sure the water is not running and the surrounding surface is dry.

Do: Inspect Cords and Sockets Before Use

Frayed cords are a serious fire hazard and can deliver an electrical shock. Make sure all cords are completely free of breaks or exposed wires. If an outlet emits a spark, smoke, or a burning smell, do not use it. Call an electrician to inspect it and make repairs.

 

Don’t: Use Extension Cords as Long Term Solutions

Extension cords send electrical currents at longer distances, requiring greater energy consumption. They also tend to get very hot when used for long periods of time. Using them to power a device for too long can cause the rubber surrounding the connector to melt around the plug. Extension cords are fire hazards when used inside the home and should be limited to outdoor use.

Do: Unplug Unused Electronics

Electronics that are plugged into the wall will draw power even when they’re not in use. So, before you go to work, make sure you check your sockets and unplug all unused electronics.

 

Don’t: Leave Outlets Uncovered

All wall outlets should have plastic covers to prevent debris from interfering with the sockets. Covering your outlets will also prevent pets and small children from accidentally shocking themselves. Even if an outlet isn’t working, you should still make sure it’s covered. Replacing a broken cover is very simple, so no excuses.

Do: Use Safety Plugs on Unused Outlets

It’s a good idea to use safety plugs when an outlet is not in use. This will protect children and pets and prevent them from trying to stick their fingers or paws in the outlet. Even if you don’t have children or pets, it’s still a good idea to use safety plugs. This will keep your sockets free from dust and prevent static electricity from spitting out.

 

Don’t: Overload Power Strips

It’s never a good idea to plug a second power strip into one already being use. Doing so can lead to electrical shortages, overheating, power outages, sparks, and fires.

Do: Call an Electrician When in Need of Rewiring

You should never do your own rewiring unless you are a certified electrician. If you aren’t, Dependable Electric is here to help. Just give us a call at 404-789-4811 or fill out our contact form.

How to Child-Proof Your Sockets

Having children can be one of the most joyous, rewarding, and wonderful things that you can do. Raising them, on the other hand, can have its caveats. Luckily, the good far outweighs the bad and you determine, in the end, that’s it’s totally worth it. However, one of the things that may frighten you as a parent is electricity. And, let’s be honest, it should scare the heck out of you or anyone that isn’t an electrician. Electricity isn’t something to be messed with – plain and simple. That’s why at Dependable Electric we’ve decided to take today to give you some suggestions and methods of baby-proofing electrical outlets, securing loose cords, and making the electrical aspect of your home much safer. A few things we’re going to cover may seem like common sense to some, but for new parents of toddlers, crawlers, and babies, it might be revolutionary information.

 

TRR
Tamper-Resistant Receptacle by Leviton, available at Home Depot

With electricity the name of the game never changes, it’s always SAFETY. One of the simplest yet most important steps in keeping your children safe from electrical shock is to talk about electricity and how dangerous it can be. Unlike other dangerous aspects of growing up, it’s not a good idea to show your kids a real-life example of what electricity is capable of. You must, however, stress how essential it is that they are aware of what electricity can do. So like any other responsible, grown adult, show them a YouTube video. One like this one should be effective. The bottom line is that you must communicate with your kids in a plain language they understand, how serious electricity is. And maybe tell them to thank Benjamin Franklin while you’re at it.

Most people are quite aware of the little plastic outlet inserts, like these. But there are quite a few other products made that are a little more elegant and a little less noticeable. If your home was built 2008 or later, there was a new national code that mandated all electrical outlets in homes must be the tamper resistant receptacle type. This is basically a built-in security measure that requires both parts of the plug to be inserted simultaneously in order for it to work. If a child were to stick a bobby pin, key, or any other metal item into one slot, the spring-loaded shutter will hold fast and keep your kid’s science experiment from happening. The chances of a child being able to stick two items into the slots at the same time are extremely slim.

 

Keeping electrical cords, plugs, and outlets out of reach can be a huge factor in helping your kids avoid any type of electrical shock.  When that’s not an option, there are quite a few other types of safety devices available. Most of them are relatively cheap and easy to find. The ones we’ve compiled can be found here:

  • Outlet covers – must be aligned to properly plug anything in.
  • Safety 1st Power Strip cover – buy here.
  • Plug Lock – insert plug, turn key, remove and hide the key. Poof! Unable to plug in!
  • Tamper Resistant Receptacles – buy here.

These and plenty more devices made to keep your family safe can be found at Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowes, just to name a few places.

 

 

 

Space Heater Safety Tips

space-heaterA space heater’s sole purpose is to heat up that place in our home that never seems to be able to get warmed from our furnace or heat pump. These small heaters give us a little reprieve from the cold without raising our electric bills by too big an amount. But you must keep in mind that space heaters are to be used with caution and under a watchful eye. Left unattended and space heater can start a fire that could spread in under a minute. Heating equipment is the second most popular culprit of home fires in the US, accounting for countless injuries, homes lost; millions of dollars in insurance claims and sadly, even deaths.

Plug Directly Into Outlet

Always plug your space heater directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord or power strip to give your heater power. Doing this can lead to fire or electrical shorts to occur. Be sure to check the wires and the body of your heating unit to make sure nothing is frayed, rusted, broken or otherwise malfunctioning.

Do Not Leave Heater By Itself

Whenever you get up to leave the warm sanctity that is your hot spot, turn off or unplug your space heater. Whether you’re walking out for the day or just for five minutes be sure that it is powered down. This will decrease your chances of it starting a fire by almost 100%. It only takes a fire a few precious moments to start and spread. Avoid this catastrophic outcome every time you use your heater.

Read and Follow Your Specific Heater’s Manual

When it comes to most things to read (i.e. OS updates and the like), you generally can get safely by without reading them. When something has the ability to burn your house down you take it a bit more seriously. They don’t print those manuals and put warning stickers on the units for no reason-heed the warning!

Stay Back 3 Feet

To be effective, a heater must do a few things to function properly: warm a small area; not start a fire; turn on or off when prompted. As a user, you must do a few things also: use caution by keeping anything that could burn at least 3 feet away; turn it off when you’re leaving the room; examine it for defect or anything unusual. Staying a minimum of 3 feet away is ideal for proper safety of your heater. Remember it’s a space heater, not a grill, not a blanket warmer and definitely not a microwave.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors are a MUST

Smoke-which you can smell-and carbon monoxide-which you can’t-are potential signs of fire or poisonous gas. Each floor of your home should have at least one smoke and one carbon monoxide detector. Both can be very hazardous to your health,  and depending on your type of heater may be emitted if not working properly.

Just like all the devices and appliances in your home, use each with caution and be sure you know enough about it to operate it properly and with great care.