Electrical Shock: Prevention
Most electrical shocks with household current are no more than an unpleasant wake-up call. If a toddler bites on a live wire or sucks on the end of a live extension cord, however, serious tissue destruction can occur to the mouth and face. If a child is standing in water at the time contact is made, household current can cause serious electrical shock or even death. Rapid resuscitation can be life-saving. There are some steps you can take to prevent electrical shock:
- First: Cover all electrical outlets that are not in use with plastic safety caps. Toddlers love to poke things into them.
- Second: Unplug appliances with heating elements, such as hair dryers, curling irons, electric shavers, coffeepots and toasters when they are not being used.
- Third: Keep electrical cords out of reach of toddlers who might chew on them. Mouth burns can have a serious outcome. Children have lost part of the lip or the end of their tongue.
- Fourth: Never leave an extension cord plugged into the wall with nothing plugged into it. If a child sucks on the free end, he can suffer a terrible electrical burn of the face and mouth.
- Fifth: Teach your child never to touch an electrical appliance, such as a hair dryer, telephone or radio while he is using the bathtub or sink. This mistake can result in immediate electrocution if the appliance is plugged into the socket, even if the switch is turned off. Better yet, install GFI receptacles in these areas.
- Finally: During thunderstorms, teach your child to avoid open water (such as swimming pools, lakes or streams), tall trees, high ground or metal objects. Cars and houses are safe.
If you have other questions about electric shocks, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.