Protect Children and Pets from Electrical Hazards

Accidents around the home result in millions of injuries to the most vulnerable members of your family — young children and pets — each year. For example, about 2,400 children receive emergency room treatment annually for injuries caused by inserting objects into electrical receptacles, according the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

With a few precautions, these and other injuries can be avoided:

  • Install tamper resistant outlets (TROs) that protect against small children inserting foreign objects into them. Simple plastic caps typically used can be easily removed by some children.
  • Keep electrical cords tied up or out of sight.
  • Unplug all appliances when they are not being used, such as hair dryers or coffee makers.
  • Keep appliances out of children’s bathrooms.
  • Teach children not to touch appliances when they have wet hands and to keep appliances away from water. 
  • Teach children other basic safety tips such as staying away from outlets and not touching electrical cords.


Some of the same tips apply to pets: 

  • Keep electrical cords away from cats and puppies who love to chew on them.  
  • Make sure night lights and appliances are fully plugged in. Partially exposed prongs can be a temptation to curious critters. 
  • Keep halogen lamps away from pet play areas. If knocked over, they could start a fire. 
  • Keep appliances in bathrooms away from water. Playful pets can knock radios or curling irons into water, creating a dangerous situation. 
  • Discourage cats and dogs from curling up for naps behind electrical equipment such as computers.



Contributed by Chris Grammes, who writes on safety issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.

Photo credit: Fire Safety Council



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