Children are not only the most treasured beings to the heart of man but also the hands by which they catch a glimpse of heaven. Suffice to say therefore that anything that risks the life of children needs to be addressed with critical importance.
Electrical danger exposes children to harm at the place where their safety should be ultimately guaranteed – at home. However, one should not be unduly alarmed as the dangers posed by electrical systems are not too difficult to handle. This is not to say that accidents don’t happen, they do and can be fatal. However this is a call to shift our attention to accident prevention because electrical safety is shocking – pun intended.
Keeping our homes safe with regards to electrical hazards is critical. Electricity has availed sparks of every conceivable progress and yet its safety, especially at homes, has been given the slimmest of attention. People are generally strangers to electrical danger and rather than being safety minded, they are safety blinded.
So how exactly do we move the safety of our children to a point of certainty?
First, it all starts with you. Adults who handle electrical gadgets at home ought to realize that children learn by imitation. Whatever they see adults do is considered the best practice even if it leads them to actual danger. And no, it’s not about barking orders and conditions to children, it’s about showing them what to do. Children may not be very good listeners, but they never fail to imitate. Knowledge on electrical safety therefore, must be of fundamental interest to parents.
Children need to be made aware of the basics of electrical safety. First, that electricity has the power to cause burns, shocks and of cause death. Equipment, gadgets and wires are just as dangerous as electrical power lines hence the need for appropriate safety precautions. It is also critical to note that as electricity flows through water, it passes through the body. Remember, the human body is composed of 70% water.
What then can children do to avoid electrocution or shock?
• Children should never stick their fingers or any object into any electrical outlet or light bulb socket.
• They should also keep their fingers and objects away from home appliances like iron boxes even if they are off.
• Because electricity has a formidable love affair with water, no electrical appliance should ever be used near a sink, bathtub or any water source.
• Of greater emphasis is to always keep electrical wires and connections from any form of external heat.
• While their hands have water, children should never touch any electrical appliance or equipment including light switches, even if they are insulated.
• The act of just pulling plugs by their wires without first turning off the mains should never happen because impatience has never equaled death and a little care causes no pain.
• Because there is always need to clean electrical gadgets, it should be done while the appliances are unplugged. Remember unplugging is not the same as switching off.
• Children must avoid any wire or device that is worn out. In fact, such devices carry lots of electrical hazards and should be disposed.
• While outdoors, children must avoid climbing trees or poles that are near power lines.
• It is also common knowledge that children like playing by throwing things into the air. Such acts can be dangerous especially when they get entangled with power lines as it can travel through strings and harm them or cause a fire.
• Because of their curiosity, children may want to pull things that are stuck on power lines. Talking to adults or any older person whenever they notice such is the safest approach, and quick action must be taken to kill their curiosity.
• Utility poles must never be climbed whilst also keeping far away from power substations.
• Children should also be warned against touching fallen electric wires. And besides that, they should never touch anything or anyone that is touching a wire that has fallen.
• Throwing objects at the electric wires must be totally avoided.
These precautions require team effort from the children and their caregivers. Whether the fault is caused by an adult or a child, the magnitude of the danger and its subsequent effects are detrimental to all. As we all know, accidents hurt but safety doesn’t.
Everywhere at home let safety be known because a bad wire can cause fire and a faulty wire can be dire.
Vincent Combajo is a mechanical engineer working with EEnovators. An energy consulting firm providing innovative energy solutions. He is passionate about green energy, developmental economics and strategy. @EngCombajo.