Electrical Shock, Prevention of

  • Cover all electrical outlets that are not in use with plastic safety caps.
  • Unplug appliances with heating elements, such as hair dryers, curling irons, electric shavers, coffeepots, and toasters, when they are not being used.
  • Keep electrical cords away from toddlers who might chew on them. (Note: This accident could burn off part of the lip or the end of the tongue.)
  • If your home does not already have them, have a licensed electrician install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) outdoors, in bathrooms, kitchens, or anywhere that electrical appliances or products could come in contact with water.
  • Teach your child not to turn on lights or electrical appliances when he or she is standing on a wet floor or wet ground.
  • Teach your child never to touch an electrical appliance, such as a hair dryer, telephone, or radio, while he or she is in the bathtub. (Note: This mistake can result in immediate electrocution if the appliance is plugged into the socket, even if the switch is turned off.) Unplug appliances when not in use in the bathroom, or use them in another room.
  • Don’t allow your child to play outside or swim during electrical storms. Teach your child to avoid open water (such as swimming pools, lakes, and streams), tall trees, high ground, or metal objects (such as a shovel) during thunderstorms. Cars and houses are safe.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2007-03-22
Last reviewed: 2014-06-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.

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