Electrical Appliance Safety
Check the cords of appliances regularly to look for frayed or exposed wiring. If an appliance produces an unusual smell after use or sparks upon plugging it in or turning it on, recycle the appliance at an approved facility, throw it in the trash or look into professional repair. Check the owner’s manual of appliances that use bulbs to ensure you are using the correct wattage. Do not let your child use an electrical blanket in his bed, as these appliances can overheat and cause burns or ignite the bed. Avoid using space heaters in your child’s room, as these easily tip over, resulting in fires.
Cord and Outlet Safety
Utilize ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) whenever possible and especially on appliances commonly used by children, such as toasters and microwaves. Avoid using extension cords or overloading outlets, and use outlet cover to prevent your child from sticking his finger or any small objects into the live sockets. Do not run electrical cords near your child’s bed, under rugs or near curtains or shades, as faulty cords can give off heat or sparks and ignite a fire.
Kids love to help parents in the kitchen, but the kitchen is the main source of unintended fires in the home. Teach kids to cover a grease fire or sprinkle baking soda onto the flames. Keep flammable items such as oven mitts, potholders and dish towels away from the oven and burners as well as away from other heat-generating appliances such as coffee makers, toasters, toaster ovens, and microwaves. Do not store plastic items on or around your oven, as these can easily melt and catch fire. Teach children about what is safe to use in the microwave and what can catch fire, such as metal and grease. Consider placing burner guards, knob covers and door guards on your oven so that children cannot operate the stovetop or oven.
In the winter months, many families enjoy lighting a fire in the fireplace. This can be a danger to children, especially if children have easy access to the firepit. Keep your fireplace gated at all times and extinguish all fires before leaving on trips or errands and when going to bed at night. Candles warm the holiday table and provide beautiful decor on dark evenings, however, children can easily knock a candle over and ignite anything around it. Do not leave candles unattended or within a child’s reach. Keep live Christmas trees watered and away from sources of heat to avoid the tree catching fire. Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children, who may try to imitate grown-ups lighting the candles.
Keep smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every bedroom. Teach your children what to do and where to go in the event the alarm is sounded. Keep functioning fire extinguishers in your kitchen, garage and near the fireplace and teach your child how to use it.
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