Electrical Safety Tips for Kids

Electricity is energy. Electricity is energy that makes your stuff, at home and in school, work.

Think of it this way: your dog eats dog food so it can run and play. Your TV set also "eats" electricity so it can work and entertain you. Electricity makes your computer, oven toaster, light bulbs, and washing machines work, too.

Electricity helps people fulfill their day-to-day activities. Electricity is very useful, and living without it in this modern world would be unthinkable.

However, electricity can sometimes be harmful if it is used the wrong way. If people use electricity in an unsafe manner, it can create a fire hazard. It can even cause others to get hurt very badly by being electrocuted.

Practicing safety in using electricity at home and in school will surely keep you out of harm's way. Here are some tips to get you started:

- Never climb trees or walls near power lines. Also, learn to read and understand signs like "DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE" or "KEEP OUT." These places usually have transformers—nope, not the cool robots from outer space—but transformers that are placed in large metal boxes and are attached to poles on the ground. If you come into contact with any of these, you might get hurt, or worse, killed.

- If you happen to spot a fallen electrical wire outside your house, or a broken cord inside your home, don't touch it! Instead, ask an adult to call the right people so they can fix the problem.

- Don't touch electrical appliances, like light switches and toasters, when parts of your body, especially your hands and feet, are wet.

- Only the plug should be put into the socket. Don't stick other objects in it to avoid getting hurt.

- Immediately report to your parents any damaged plugs and cords on your appliances.

- The right way to unplug electric cords is to pull the cord out by the plug (or the thing that looks like the head), and NOT by the cord or wire. Ask an adult to demonstrate this to you if you haven't done it before.

- Make sure to keep electric cords neatly, away from places where people can step on them.

- Flying kites is a cool thing to do, especially when it's warm and windy outside. However, don't do it near power lines. Make sure you're in an open field where your kite won't get stuck in power lines and trees. Also, don't use metal wires if you're making a kite.

- Ask an adult to help you in changing a light bulb, and never put your fingers in the light bulb socket. If you're old enough to change a light bulb, politely ask an adult to supervise you, and wait until the light bulb is cool and that the lamp is physically turned off before changing it.

- Unplug appliances, such as laptops and TV sets, before cleaning them.

- Lightning storms are scary for a reason: did you know that many people around the world are struck by lighting each year? Some people are even unlucky enough to be struck by lighting more than once! So if there's thunder and lighting outside, stay indoors. If you're in a swimming pool or in bathing in the sea or a river, get out, and stay dry.

- Ask adults about areas in your house which your younger brothers or sisters should avoid. Have them print out colorful signs that say "DON'T TOUCH", and place them on these areas. Remind your younger siblings to stay away from these places.

- Don't play with your Daddy's cool power tools. These tools can be very dangerous for kids who haven't been trained to handle them. Remember the common saying: "don't touch what isn't yours!"