When the weather is nice, many children enjoy going outdoors to fly kites, climb trees, and play with their friends. While playing outdoors is a great pastime for kids, there are electrical hazards that children need to be aware of to keep them safe. Safe Electricity offers a variety tips to share with children before they head outdoors.
Stay away from pad mounted transformers. Pad mounted transformers are green metal boxes that contain the above ground portion of an underground electrical installation. These cabinets carry high voltages and are safe when locked, but they can be deadly if someone reaches inside. If you see one in your neighborhood that is open, call authorities and your utility immediately.
Never enter an electrical substation for any reason. If a ball or other toy enters the fence surrounding the substation, call your utility for help. Substations hold deadly amounts of electricity and should only be entered by professionals.
Always be aware of overhead power lines. Do not fly kites or model planes near power lines or electrical substations. A kite string can conduct electricity from an overhead line directly to the person on the ground.
Be careful when using Mylar balloons for a party. These metallic coated balloons conduct electricity, so never tie one to a child. If the balloon comes into contact with electricity, the child could receive a fatal shock.
Ensure your children are protected from the electrical service connection to your home. Keep ladders or long poles stowed and away from youngsters who might be tempted to use them to reach the wires connected to your house. Also be aware of these lines around pools. Pool skimmers can be long enough to reach service connection lines.
Under no circumstance should anyone climb trees near power lines. If branches are touching the wires, the tree could be energized. Even branches not touching power lines could become energized if a child’s weight is added.
Finally, storm fronts can move rapidly, and lightning can strike 10 miles in advance of a storm. Remember the rule of thumb from the National Weather Service, “when thunder roars, go indoors.” Make sure kids know that it is not safe to be outside during a storm.
For more information on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.