We often try to protect our children from the world “out there,” but we have to remember that our own home can pose some dangers, too. Here are a few tips for keeping kids safe at home.
The team of electricians at Herrmann Services in Cincinnati sees many things in homes that aren’t safe. Usually the solution is pretty easy and affordable. Check this list to see if you have hidden hazards in your home:
1. Replace Electrical Outlets with GFCI Outlets
GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) are a safety feature that prevents electrical shocks by cutting off the power to that outlet immediately when it senses an imbalance in the flow of electricity. GFCIs are required by code on outdoor outlets, or any outlet near a source of water (kitchens, baths). Make sure to test GFCI outlets monthly.
Press the TEST button, then RESET button every month to assure proper operation. If the indicator light does not go out and come back on or if the GFCI cannot be reset, it must be replaced.
2. Replace Old Smoke Detectors
According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly two thirds of fire related deaths occur due to smoke detectors that either malfunctioned, were missing batteries, or were disconnected. Whether hard-wired or battery operated, after ten years, smoke alarms may malfunction and cause a serious health hazard.
Make a note of when you last replaced your smoke detector, whether that be writing the date in permanent marker on the inside of the detector, or storing the date in a file.
3. Replace Outdated Electrical Circuit Breaker Panels
Older electrical panels or breaker boxes are more likely to malfunction and put your home at risk. If your panel is more than 40 years old, we recommend replacing it. If it is more than 20 years old, you should have an electrician perform a safety inspection on it.
If your home has a Federal Pacific Electric panel or a Zinsco panel, we also recommend replacing those as they are known to be fire hazards.
4. Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors
More than 20,000 Americans visit the emergency room every year as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, and 400 of them die from it. Installing a detector in your home and ensuring the batteries are working can help prevent this type of tragedy. Test both smoke alarms and CO detectors once per month, and replace batteries as needed.
5. Replace Damaged Electric Cords
Cords that are regularly moved, twisted, or plugged and unplugged can start to wear over time. Check for damage and replace them immediately. Exposed wires can shock you or your children.
6. Don’t Use Extension Cords
An extension cord sends that electric current over a greater distance, giving more opportunities for cord damage and fire hazards. Not only that, but extension cords can pose a tripping hazard. You should not use extension cords as a substitute for sufficient electrical wiring.
7. Set Your Water Heater at a Safe Temperature
Scalding can be a big danger, especially with young children who don’t know it can be a danger. Setting your water heater thermostat below 120 degrees Fahrenheit will prevent scalding temperatures from reaching the faucet. Bath water should be about 100 degrees; always check it with your hand before letting the kids get in.
8. Don’t Use Space Heaters
Though there are many precautions you can take with space heaters, such as keeping them away from flammable materials and never leaving them on when you’re sleeping, children don’t always take such precautions. It’s just safer to avoid using them altogether.
9. Unplug Appliances When Not in Use
Appliances could be accidentally turned on when a child reaches for something else, or if they’re absentmindedly playing with the device. Keeping the items unplugged when you’re not using them helps avoid accidental burns. Keep a close eye on items that remain hot after you’ve turned them off, like curling irons, coffee pots, or stovetop burners.
10. Teach Your Kids About Electricity
Explaining the dangers of electric shock may help your children avoid experimenting with outlets. Placing plastic covers over the outlets can also deter little hands. With a few simple precautions, your home can become much safer for you and your children.
If you need any help with electrical issues or installations, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can even perform home safety inspections of your electrical outlets.
Call Herrmann Services for a safety inspection, electrical repair, or replacement at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.