Human bodies are mostly composed of water (66.6%). Electricity can therefore travel easily through them and seriously hurt or kill if not handled properly. Electricity travels at 186,000 miles per second; it gives you no time to react; you cannot move faster than it.
Curiosity is a natural part of childhood learning, but it can be extremely dangerous when it comes to electricity. Of all the hazards children face every day, there is perhaps none quite as uniquely unforgiving as electricity. Yet, starting from a very young age, children are constantly surrounded by devices that use electricity.
The more children know about how electricity works and which items in their lives require electricity, the more likely they’ll be to use it safely, preventing fires and shocks/electrocutions.
Parents find out quite early how fascinating electrical lights, outlets and wires can be to their young child. In order to ensure safety in and out of the home, electrical safety must therefore be explicitly taught and reviewed often.
Very young children are not ready for detailed descriptions and explanations about the dangers of electricity. However use of strong, consistent language can let them know you mean business when they approach an electrical danger.
Just remember that what your children learn from you today can be a lifesaver later when they encounter potential hazards like downed power lines in their path, play hide-and-seek behind those big metal electrical boxes in the neighborhood or are tempted to climb up a KPLC utility pole.
FIRST AID FOR ELECTRIC SHOCK IN CHILDREN:
Children are prone to high voltage shock caused by mischievous exploration, of man-made electrical items. If your child touches an electric current — with his finger, foot, or mouth, for example — the current runs through part of his body. Depending on the strength and type of current and how long your child holds on, it can cause a split-second sensation, a burn, or a serious injury.
An electric shock can be very minor and not cause any long-term damage. A strong enough current, though, can enter your child’s body at one location and leave it at another, damaging all the tissue in its path.
If your child suffers an electric shock, he may have skin burns; numbness or tingling; muscle contractions, pain, or weakness; a headache; or hearing impairment. A big enough shock can make your child unconscious, stop his breathing, or cause seizures, cardiac arrest, damage to his brain, heart, or other organs, or even death.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CHILD IS SHOCKED?
If you’re witnessing the shock, shut off the source of the electricity if you can — unplug the cord, turn off circuit breakers, or remove the fuse from the fuse box.
Don’t touch your child with your bare hands while he’s in contact with the electric current and don’t reach into water in which there’s an electric current, or you may be electrocuted. If you need to break your child’s connection with the current, use an object that’s not metallic and won’t conduct electricity, like a wooden broom or a rolled-up magazine.
If your child is no longer in contact with the current, check his breathing. If he’s not breathing, have someone call an emergency medical rescue services provider while you give CPR. If you’re alone with your child, give him CPR for two minutes, then call emergency medical rescue services.
If your child’s breathing is fine, check his skin color. Call for emergency help if he seems pale. Continue to monitor your child’s breathing and begin CPR if he stops breathing.
Look for burned skin. An electric shock can cause a serious burn. Even if a burn doesn’t look too bad on the outside, it could be deep and painful. And burns on the lips are sometimes hard to see.
If your child has a burn, don’t put ice, ointment, or anything else on it. Unless you’re sure the burn is very minor, take your child to the emergency room right away. (If it’s very minor, you can take him to his doctor instead.)
The doctor can clean and dress your child’s burn and also check for internal damage, which can be hard for you to detect. She may suggest the proper dose of medication for pain relief.
If the doctor thinks your child may have suffered internal organ damage, she may run lab tests. And if your child has severe burns or internal damage, he’ll be hospitalized.
FINALLY, A PRACTICAL LESSON FOR THE KIDS
TID’s Dexter Duck Electrical Safety Video aims to help teach children about the dangers of electricity through slapstick humor that is memorable. Featured tips in the video include: water and electricity don’t mix, only electric plugs go into power outlets, and stay clear of downed power lines. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igK-DRB5faU
First Aid Tips Courtesy of Baby Centre / Video courtesy of TID.