Child Safety Week – 1st-7th June 2015 – Electrical safety at home

This week is Child Accident Prevention Trust’s Child Safety Week 2015.  So we’re taking a step back from our normal focus on PAT testing to look at how you can keep yourself and your family safe.

Did you see yesterday’s post on socket protectors? If not, read that first!

Ok, you’re all caught up. No matter what your opinion is on socket protectors, it’s important to note that there’s a lot more to electrical safety than keeping little fingers out of sockets.

The fixed wiring

A residual current device (RCD) can be fitted in your fusebox. This acts like a trip switch for your home, protecting you against electrical surges. It can help prevent fatal electrocutions and reduce the risk of electrical fire, and can protect you in ways you may not have realised. For example, this article from Electrical Safety First describes how a woman received an electric shock when the wet plaster she was applying became live after the mains was left on.

Your portable appliances

OK, we said we weren’t looking at PAT testing this week. But those same user checks that we recommend for the workplace are just as important for the home. Check that there is no exposed wiring, that the appliance casing is intact (no cracks or breaks, please!) and that the plug and power lead are sound. If you’ve noticed that your kettle doesn’t turn itself off or there’s a hot smell when you use the tumble dryer, stop using it immediately! Have it checked, repaired, or replaced (and come on, a kettle is only a few quid).

Check that your children are educated about electrical safety – and make sure to include your teenagers too. Clothes thrown over games consoles can start an electrical fire in your home. And remember that drying clothes near electric heaters can be just as dangerous, and have the same outcome.

Appliances and your children

There are other things to be aware of. Heated appliances like irons and straighteners can still be hot enough to burn 15 minutes after you turn them off. Young kids often have no sense of fear or danger. And it’s worth being extra vigilant around certain appliances, like extension leads, which are usually within reach of little hands.

While we’re on the subject, lamps can be highly dangerous too. If the bulb is missing or broken, the live connector is usually easily accessible.

Electrical toys such as train sets and scale-model race car circuit sets should be checked regularly, ideally before every use, to ensure that they are safe before they’re plugged in.

Electrical safety affects all the family – after all, what if something happens to you?

Don’t miss the next part of our Child Safety Week series tomorrow!

Until then,

Adrian

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