Teaching kids about electrical safety
Many of us grew up hearing our parents say “unplug the toaster!” as we tried to dislodge a piece of bread with a knife. But Hydro-Québec wants parents to know that there are many other ways to teach kids how to be safe around electricity.
Children are curious beings who may be attracted by electrical outlets. Because electricity is powerful and invisible, kids need to learn safety precautions from a young age. Babies and toddlers discover the world with their hands and mouths, which may inadvertently put them at risk. They may gnaw on a cord, pull on a plug or get their fingers caught between the plug and the socket. They may also be tempted to try to insert an object or little fingers into an outlet, which can give them an electric shock.
What parents can do to prevent accidents
Every year, approximately 100 children under the age of 9 visit Quebec’s emergency rooms due to electrical shocks, including burns to their hands and mouths. An electric shock can cause a tickle, muscular spasms, serious burns and even cardiac arrest or death.
One of the best ways to keep young children safe is to install plug protectors on electrical outlets to prevent them from putting objects or their fingers into them. Choose discreet protectors that don’t attract attention and are difficult to remove. There are also outlets with a built-in safety mechanism that makes it harder to insert objects into them.
Also, keep extension cords and the electric wires of your devices (lamp, kettle, radio, etc.) out of reach. If young children pull on a wire, the device could fall and hurt them.
15 tips on creating a safe home environment
There may be electrical safety hazards in your home you never really thought about. Follow these basic safety rules to avoid an accident and protect your loved ones:
- Never use a damaged extension cord
- Never use a defective electrical device
- Pull on the plug and not on the cable to unplug an electrical device
- Unplug the toaster before trying to dislodge stuck toast
- Before changing a lightbulb, switch the light off or unplug the lamp
- Make sure to locate electrical wires before drilling a hole in the wall
- Multi-outlets: get the right power bars
- Always unplug the iron before filling it with water
- In the bathroom, never use electrical devices if you are wet or your feet are on a wet floor
- Do not use electrical devices or extension cords near a pool
- If one of the breakers on your distribution panel trips often, spread out your devices onto different circuits
- Do not cut off or bend the third prong of a plug … it’s an important feature
- Never throw water on an outlet that’s on fire
- Mow the lawn safely
- Be careful when removing the cover plate of a switch or outlet
Fun ways to educate kids of all ages
Hydro-Québec has some great games and educational activities for kids 5 to 15. These are fun ways to learn about this serious topic. For those 5 and under, there are colouring pages, scavenger hunts and stories. Ages 6-10 have riddles, word games and quizzes. The older age group can learn delve into more complex subjects such as how electricity is generated and gets from a power station to your home.
Hydro-Québec has also developed educational kits for teachers. These resources reach about 45,000 students a year and are offered level of education – from preschool to university.
Also, learn about safety tips for kids playing outdoors and the importance of always staying away from power lines.
Electricity is a phenomenal form of energy that’s perfectly safe when used correctly. To learn more about how to keep your family safe, click here.