If you’re going to learn about electrical safety for kids, you should know the dangers of damaged or faulty electrical cords. Have you ever wondered why appliances have cords with a rubbery coating?
The rubber coating is actually an insulating layer that keeps the electricity trapped inside. An insulator is like the opposite of a conductor. A conductor lets electricity travel through it, whereas an insulator doesn’t.
An appliance cord has both a conductor and an insulator. The conductor is on the inside, letting electricity from your wall socket reach the appliance. The insulator is on the outside, trapping the electricity within the cord and protecting you from electrical shocks.
It’s very important to make sure that you use appliances and cords only the way they were intended to be used. That’s why manufacturers provide instructions and safety information in manuals.
Apart from the general ‘how-to’ instructions, manuals tell you what not to do. When it comes to electrical safety for kids, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. When you follow the manufacturer’s instructions word for word, you’ll be doing all the right things for your electrical safety, giving yourself the best chances of avoiding an electrical mishap.
Following instructions and using appliances only the way they were intended to be used will ensure that you don’t damage the insulating layer on the cord. Remember, the insulating outer layer of the cord is what keeps the electricity trapped inside. Without it, the electricity could ‘escape’ and travel through you when you touch it.
No education of electrical safety for kids can be complete without understanding what a ‘live wire’ is. A live wire is essentially a cord with electricity passing through it, but without the insulating outer layer. Since a live wire is not insulated, touching it would allow the electricity from the cord to pass through you.
Sometimes, a live wire inside an appliance or a toy may come into contact with the inside of the device. When this happens, touching the device would be just like touching a live wire. Since you cannot tell just by looking whether there is an exposed live wire inside an appliance or toy, you should always consider the possibility, and be as safe as you can.
If an electrical appliance looks old or damaged, inspect it first before plugging it in. Most devices we come across are built rather sturdily, and chances you won’t come across any live wires, or get shocked from a damaged device.
An electric shock is not always fatal, but it always hurts. What you should know is that even a very small amount of electricity can kill, and that you should never experiment with it. Even ‘just to see how it feels.’
It’s not that just big power lines or big appliances are dangerous; even regular-sized electrical appliances around the home can cause shocks that can kill.
When learning about electrical safety for kids, you should take a moment to understand how electricity is measured. Electrical current is measured in amperes. 1 milliamp is 1000th of an ampere, meaning that 1,000 milliamps is equivalent to 1 ampere and 2,000 milliamps is 2 amperes, and so on.
The most that 1 milliamp will do is give you a small shock that you can just feel. It’s an uncomfortable, tingling sensation. A 5- to 10-milliamp shock has a ‘glue’ effect, holding onto the person and not letting go easily. Understandably, it’s much more painful than glue.
A 20- to 50-milliamp shock has serious consequences, with burn injuries, rapid heart and pulse rates, and in some cases, death. Electric shocks over 60-milliamps are almost always fatal.
You can see how careful you have to be with electricity when you consider that even ordinary electrical devices can easily deliver shocks above 60-milliamps, including mundane things like electric shavers, light bulbs, hairdryers and the like. For your electrical safety, always take all precautionary measures before operating appliances.
Depending on the severity, an electric shock can cause weakness, muscle spasms, shallow breathing, rapid pulse rate, burns, unconsciousness and even death. In an electric shock, the part of the body that the electricity flows through becomes very hot, very rapidly. Severe burns can result on the body, along the path of the electricity. The skin is most susceptible to burns, especially around the parts where electricity enters or leaves the body.
Learning about electrical safety for kids is easy. And it’s even easier to implement the tips, follow the advice and go by the rules. There are only a few things you have to remember. And if you do, you’ll be practicing electrical safety for the rest of your life.