Safety around the home is important, especially if you have a young family. As a parent, you don’t want to have to worry about keeping an eye on everything your child is doing, but at the same time you can feel irresponsible if you don’t, and guilty if something goes wrong.
There are a lot of things you need to consider when childproofing your home:
Trampolines and other sporting equipment
Cleaning chemicals and poisons
Stairs and balconies
Choking and suffocation hazards
Doors and windows
One thing you absolutely need to think about is electrical safety.
In this article we cover the basic steps that you should take to help protect your child from electrocution or electrical fires.
1. Use socket covers
Children love poking things where they don’t belong. When you aren’t using a power socket, you should plug a cover into the socket so that nothing be inserted by mistake.
2. Don’t overload
You should never overload you electrical sockets. Extension cords and power boards should only ever be considered as temporary solutions. If you have a permanent need for an additional socket, then you should get one installed. Overloading a socket can damage the electrical system inside your house and this may cause a fire hazard.
3. Check cords and cables
Regularly inspect the condition of electrical cords and cables that you use in the home. Regular movement, crushing or chewing pets can damage cables and expose wiring. If you start to see signs of wear and tear then the cable should be replaced immediately. Exposed wiring and little fingers mean an accident is waiting to happen
4. Use safety switches
If you are using power boards then make sure that they have a surge protector built in. You can even protect your home but installing a surge protector at your switch board which will protect your whole property. These should also be tested regularly by pushing the “Test” or “T” button on the protector. As a rule of thumb you should do this every 3 months.
5. Heed the signs
If your fuses or surge protectors are regularly tripping then it is a sign that there is something wrong. Get an electrician out to your home to do an inspection. Do not think you can fix the problem by just installing a higher capacity fuse – this could cause an overload in the wiring within your walls, or your appliances which may lead to a fire.
6. Liquids and electricity don’t mix
Make sure that if there are any spills near power sockets or electrical devices that you turn off the electricity before cleaning up the liquid. Once the spill has been tidied up then make sure that it is safe before you turn the electricity back on. If an electrical device has water inside it then it is not a good idea to go plugging it back in.
7. Look out for power lines
Power lines that are too close to trees or when using ladders can be a disaster. Trees can be fun to climb, but they can also be good conductors of electricity. The safe clear distance for power lines is 6.4 metres for wires on poles, or 10 metres for electrical towers. Flying kites in the back yard can also be a hazard, remember to always look up first to see what obstacles me be in the way.
8. Don’t play near substations
Okay, so this one might not be in or around the home (unless you live next door to one), but you should tell your children to never climb the fence into a substation. If the family dog, or the cricket ball gets on the wrong side of the fence and you need to get it back then call the electrical company. You should never try to retrieve it yourself.
9. Educate your child
Make sure that your child understands the dangers of electricity. They need to know the importance of all of the dangers above. It is also a good idea for you and your child to take a first aid course. You never know when you, or child may need it.
10. Always use licensed tradespeople
Don’t attempt to do any electrical work yourself – it’s just not worth the risk. Engage a qualified electrician to do the work for you, and ask to see his licence before he starts.
While we have tried to cover a range of safety issues here, this is not a comprehensive guide to electrical safety. Common sense should always prevail when dealing with electricity, and if you aren’t sure then engage a professional to get the right advice.
At The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor all of our tradespeople are licenced, qualified and insured to work on your property. You can see their credentials whenever you want – don’t be afraid to ask! You can also get a free electrical inspection on your entire home when you book in any work – just give us a call.