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Children and electricity

Child playing with electrical outlet.

Young children are curious and will play with anything.  Ideally, they should never be left alone in a room where electric appliances or fittings are in use.  It takes only a moment for a child to post something into a heater, pull on a cord, topple an appliance, or poke something into an electrical outlet.

There have been cases of children being killed or injured as a result of sticking objects into power points or multi-outlet boxes, heaters or other appliances.


To prevent this happening, you should:

  • Arrange your furniture so that children have room to play away from heaters and other appliances.  Ensure that heavy appliances - like TV sets - stand on furniture intended to take their weight. P osition them so that they are stable and not likely to fall on any child who may bump into it or climb onto it to reach something on a nearby shelf. Fatal accidents have happened!
  • Always choose shuttered sockets and recessed outlets when new electrical work is being done, especially for sockets accessible to toddlers and young children.
  • For sockets accessible to toddlers and young children, use plastic safety plugs in all unused power points that don't have safety shutters.  Ensure safety plugs are a firm fit and impossible for little fingers to remove.
  • Multi-boxes or powerboards should be kept out of reach, preferably on a wall bracket.  If this cannot be done, use a multi-box cover.  If possible buy multi-boxes with shuttered outlets and an intergral RCD.
  • When you finish using appliances like hair dryers, put them away so that children don't play with them.
  • Use a short cord on your electric jugs and kettles to prevent children from pulling them down onto themselves and getting badly burned or scalded.
  • Keep metal objects like keys, scissors or nail files out of reach so they can't be poked into socket-outlets, heaters or other electrical outlets.


Teach your children about the dangers of electricity and demonstrate safe behaviour. They will generally follow your example.



Any appliance is safe to use provided the user has appropriate experience and knowledge of its operation.  So if you are caring for people (including children) who have reduced physical, sensory or mental capabilities, or lack of experience and knowledge concerning appliance use, instruct and supervise them until you are satisfied that they can operate the appliance safely.

Appliances are not toys, so never let children play with them.


Last updated 5 April 2012
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