Worried about potential electrical hazards in your home? In this piece for Inner West Mums, local electrician Scott McLaren of Scott Electrics addresses some common concerns of parents about electrical safety.
‘My son is curious and is constantly exploring and experimenting. I’m terrified that he will stick something into a power outlet’ Sam (Bellevue Hill)
Scott: You should be concerned about this! Power outlets around the home pump out 240 volts. If that electricity makes contact with a person or animal, it can cause serious harm and in some cases even death.
So, what can you do? Luckily there are some very effective and low-cost solutions to this potential problem.
‘Our daughter loves to touch anything with lights on it – the TV, DVD/CD player and recently even the exposed globe on our table lamp. We can deal with sticky finger prints on the TV but we worry that she will burn herself on the lamp’ Laura (Ashfield)
Scott: The important thing here, Laura, is that you have recognised the potential of your child being burned by a globe, some of which can heat up to over 250 degrees (Celsius). If you have ever tried to change a globe just after the light has been on, you will know how that feels. If it hurts my hardened tradie hands, imagine what it could do to a young child.
How can you prevent this from happening? There are a couple risk-diminishing actions to consider.
‘I saw our little boy putting the end of a phone charger, which was plugged in, into his mouth. Luckily nothing happened, could he have been electrocuted?’ Sarah (Castle Hill)
Scott: The short answer here, Sarah, is yes. The likelihood is low but it is possible he could have been electrocuted. Phone chargers and USB charging outlets generally only give out around 5 volts when switched on, which is not enough for humans to feel it. However, exposing the terminals to moisture (saliva) could cause them to short and, in theory, could cause the resisters and transformer in the charger (which steps down the voltage) to become faulty and pump out mains voltage (240 volts). It has been reported that cheap import chargers have done so in the past with no explanation.
What can you do to prevent electric shock from phone chargers?
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