Preventing Electrical Shocks
There’s No Such Thing as a Safe Shock.
Most Ontarians say they’ve received a shock. Although you might brush off a little zap from a toaster, even low-voltage shocks can have serious long-term aftereffects, such as memory loss, anxiety, and pins and needles.
Kids are especially curious and are natural explorers who get their hands on everything, which puts them at risk for shock. On average, more than 110 kids under 15 end up in the emergency department each year in Ontario due to an electrical injury. More than half are under the age of five.
The good news is electrical shocks are preventable. ESA can show you how with safety tips and downloadable resources.
- Replace missing or broken outlet cover plates immediately. Outlet covers create a barrier between people and exposed wires.
- Install tamper-resistant receptacles to protect younger children from shocks. They have special shutters that cover the plug slots and help prevent objects (like little fingers) from going into the outlet.
- Keep cords away from little hands and mouths. Small kids often want to explore new things by putting them in their mouths.
- Teach older children how to stay safe around electricity:
- Never overload outlets by plugging in too many cords.
- Use an approved power bar that has surge protection instead.
- Don’t yank cords from the wall. This can damage the appliance, the cord and the outlet.
- Visit e-SMART Kids for tips, games and activities.
- Check all your cords. Replace any frayed or damaged cords. Only use extension cords temporarily. They are prone to cracking and fraying, which can lead to a shock or fire.
- Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs), which have a reset button, in any room with water, like bathrooms, kitchens and laundry. Water and electricity are a lethal mix so GFCIs help you protect from a shock.
- Hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor if you need electrical work done in your home. Look for the 7-digit ECRA/ESA licence number.
Learn more about the effects of electrical shock and how you can create a safe home for you and your kids. Downlod one of the resources below.