Child Safety Week, 23-29 June 2008
It should be a safe haven but the average child's bedroom in the UK is buzzing with more electrical gadgets than ever before creating a potential danger zone, warns consumer safety charity the Electrical Safety Council.
Research commissioned by the charity has found that roughly two in three 4-11 year olds in the UK (63%) now have their own TV in their bedroom. And, nearly half of young children (48%) have games consoles or other electrical toys in their room. 38% were revealed to have a mobile phone charging in their room, and around a third of children (34%) had their own computer set up in their bedroom, many of which are accompanied by printers, scanners and other electrical kit.
Risks are increased because bedrooms rarely have sufficient power points for the number of appliances, and overloading plug sockets presents a very real fire hazard.
"We tend to be complacent about the dangers of electricity but every year in the UK around 30 people are killed and thousands injured through electric shock or electrical fire," comments Phil Buckle, director of charitable affairs at the Electrical Safety Council. "With computers, games consoles, mobile phones and a variety of multi-media equipment commonplace even for primary school-age children, the average child's bedroom could potentially contain more electrical appliances than almost any other room in the house making it a high risk area, yet it's the room in which children probably spend the most time unsupervised.”
Lamps, music systems, hair styling appliances, such as hair straighteners, and clock radios were amongst other electrical items commonly left plugged into the mains supply in children’s bedrooms.
Phil adds, “Parents need to be aware that with so many electrical appliances surrounding their children the risks today are much greater than when they themselves were children. We’re urging parents to be alert to the dangers to minimise the risks.”
To help prevent electrical accidents in the home and keep children safe, the Electrical Safety Council has the following advice:
- Never overload electric plug sockets
- Avoid trailing electrical wires - not only are these a trip hazard but they are more likely to become damaged potentially exposing live wires
- Check plugs, sockets and cables regularly for signs of damage or scorching
- Get into the habit of switching off electric games, computers, TVs and other electric appliances before you go to bed
- Never put drinks or other liquids on or near electric appliances. Water and electricity are a lethal combination
- Don't let children touch electric equipment while they are wet, e.g. before drying-off after a bath or shower
- Make sure children understand how to use electricity and electric appliances responsibly and safely
To help children understand more about electricity and keeping safe, the Electrical Safety Council has a website www.switchedonkids.org.uk which includes a fun interactive house they can explore to alert them to the dangers of electricity that could be lurking in their home. There are also games and quizzes, as well as a section for parents, which includes vital first aid information.
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