Keeping your family safe from electrical accidents
2/8/2021 by Anna Kellund, M.D.
Electrical outlets and appliances are present in most homes. While they are necessary for many daily tasks, it is also important to be aware of the safety risks they present.
February is Electrical Safety Awareness Month, which makes it a good time to review some tips to keep your family safe:
- Use safety plugs in outlets.
Cover unused electrical outlets with safety plugs that are not a choking hazard to small children. These safety plugs stop young children from being able to stick their fingers or other items into the outlet, which could cause an electric shock.
- Do not plug too many appliances into one outlet.
An outlet can become overloaded if too many items are trying to use power from it. You should only plug one large appliance, such as a refrigerator or dryer, into an outlet at a time. If you are worried that the outlet is becoming hot, schedule an appointment with a licensed electrician to review your home's electrical circuit.
- Check electrical cords for damage.
Damaged cords can cause electrical shock and fires. Check your cords regularly for signs of damage. If you notice that an electrical cord is fraying or cracking, replace it right away.
- Keep electrical appliances away from water.
Water and electricity do not mix. If an electrical appliance gets wet, it can cause an electrical shock. Make sure your appliances are dry and kept away from water sources. This is especially important in places like the kitchen or bathroom, where water is frequently used.
Following these tips will lower the risk of injury from electrical accidents.
If you are concerned about any outlets or appliances in your home, talk to a licensed electrician. Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website for more home safety tips.
Anna Kellund, M.D., is a pediatrician in the Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, which is part of Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson. She has special interests in undergraduate and graduate medical education.