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explain the danger of electric outlets to me

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
OK, I feel like this is a really dumb question, but I can't figure it out, so I'm going to ask: How, exactly, are electric outlets dangerous to children?

I understand the danger if a child stuck an object in both holes at once and completed the circuit, giving them a shock.

But the holes in electric outlets are too small even for my 14 month old's fingers. And she doesn't have anywhere near the dexterity to stick small objects in both at once. I can understand the danger for slightly older kids, I suppose.

I just keep trying to figure this out, because I know that covering electrical outlets (which I've done in every outlet in the house) is considered such an important part of childproofing. I got thinking about it in a hotel room recently, where I didn't bring enough outlet covers with me to cover every outlet, and was pondering exactly what the risk was.

Educate me!
post #2 of 37
i think the fear is that they'll stick other things besides fingers in there...like forks...or paper clips...or something else that is a conductor.

your q? also reminds me of a story g told me the other night...
someone he knows has a son who called him into the LR one night...saying Daddy look what I can do!!! His son commenced to pee on the outlet, sparks a-flying!
post #3 of 37
post #4 of 37
I think outlets are more dangerous to older toddlers cause they're the ones with crazy ideas. But it totally depends on your kid. We're having to re-babyproof cause DD1 has some crazy ideas...
post #5 of 37
Yes, the forks thing. I use covers that keep objects plugged in, bc I think those can be more dangerous-kid pulls plug halfway out and then sticks fingers between the metal prongs to try and remove the plug from the wall?

Also, though, I have seen DS try to lick the outlet.
post #6 of 37
When my sister was little she was walking down our hallway swinging the metal chain from her necklace around. Randomly, it hit the outlet (wasn't covered because my mom forgot after vacuuming) and she screeched, fortunately dropped the necklace, which melted into the carpet. You never know what freak accidents might happen. I shudder to think what might have happened if she'd not let go.
post #7 of 37
Thread Starter 
That article on sticking one's finger in an electrical outlet is part of what makes me laugh -- it's not possible to stick one's finger in an electrical outlet, when you actually look at one and think about it.

A fork or a paperclip, sure. I guess this confirms that they're more dangerous to kids who have the coordination to be able to manipulate small objects like that, which DD doesn't. Yet!

Don't worry, I'll keep my outlet covers on. But I'm not going to panic about hotel rooms at this point.
post #8 of 37
My son shocked himself when he was a toddler. He grabbed the metal part of a plug that had been plugged into the wall socket behind a chair. I called 911 and when the paramedics arrived, they pretty much just laughed (they did look him over, but were clearly amused by the fact that I'd thought it would be an emergency). I'm still not clear on why, but they told me that it would be very unlikely for a healthy child to be damaged by that kind of shock.

I'm way more worried about chewing cords. My father used to work with a man who had a horrible scar on his face from chewing a lamp cord at age two.
post #9 of 37
I got shocked by an outlet for the first time at the age of 28!! LOL Seriously, I was just feeling flat handedly around the wall behind our bed, to see where the outlet was. My hand was just the slightest bit damp, but I didn't stick my finger in anything. It hurt and sent the strangest feeling up my arm. It could be lethal to a small child, if that happened. I'm pretty paranoid about outlets now.
post #10 of 37
I think I was about 4 when I shocked myself - I jammed a necklace into the outlet. Of course IIRC I pulled the little plastic plug out to do it.
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
I use covers that keep objects plugged in, bc I think those can be more dangerous-kid pulls plug halfway out and then sticks fingers between the metal prongs to try and remove the plug from the wall?
I need to get some of those covers. DS is barely 10 mos and he did just this, yesterday. He grabbed a hold of the plug to my laptop and yanked on it, pulling it halfway out the socket. Thankfully I noticed and grabbed him before he shocked himself! He is absolutely the kind of kid that would stick stuff in there, too.

I remember shocking myself when I was a kid. It didn't cause any problems, but it did hurt. So much so that I vividly remember the incident and I've been super careful since.
post #12 of 37
I caught my DD1 trying to stick a digital thermometer into the outlet. Actually, she got very lucky bc she stuck it into the ground, not the live holes.

I don't think many understand that you don't have to get your whole finger in the outlet to get shocked...I mean it obviously wouldn't fit. I've been shocked by one!
post #13 of 37
When I was about 5 and my sister 2 my dad was "watching" (he was sleeping) us while my mom was at work. We were sitting on the floor and I was eating jellybeans out of a plastic bag that was sitting on the floor and Amber was playing with my dads keys and she stuck a key into the socket awhile the rest of the keys were touching the bag of jelly beans and they melted. She cried and let go. I remember going to my dad in bed crying that "Amber melted my jellybeans" He jumped out of bed pretty fast. No one was hurt
post #14 of 37
I'm not that worried about outlets...there are so many more interesting things for a kid to pay attention to/get into. For example...people mentioning forks and outlets...i am WAY way more worried about my toddler walking around with a fork in his hand, then the outlets. We have some outlets plugged up, and others we dont. Mostly its him chewing on cords that is a problem. But i do think the outlet worry is a little overrated.

I bet a kid is more likely to try to stick something in there when he is older than the age that you think of babyproofing for (say, a four yr old as opposed to a one or two yr old)...


Katherine
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly_mommy View Post
When I was about 5 and my sister 2 my dad was "watching" (he was sleeping) us while my mom was at work. We were sitting on the floor and I was eating jellybeans out of a plastic bag that was sitting on the floor and Amber was playing with my dads keys and she stuck a key into the socket awhile the rest of the keys were touching the bag of jelly beans and they melted. She cried and let go. I remember going to my dad in bed crying that "Amber melted my jellybeans" He jumped out of bed pretty fast. No one was hurt
Love it! That's a hilarious story! Of course it's only funny because nobody was hurt, thank goodness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post
I'm not that worried about outlets...there are so many more interesting things for a kid to pay attention to/get into. For example...people mentioning forks and outlets...i am WAY way more worried about my toddler walking around with a fork in his hand, then the outlets. We have some outlets plugged up, and others we dont. Mostly its him chewing on cords that is a problem. But i do think the outlet worry is a little overrated.

I bet a kid is more likely to try to stick something in there when he is older than the age that you think of babyproofing for (say, a four yr old as opposed to a one or two yr old)...
I really do think it depends on the kid. My DD, now 3.5, never got into a lot of trouble. I left my outlet mostly uncovered and she never got into trouble. And now, she definitely knows not to stick anything in there. I don't worry about her one iota, at least when it comes to electricity (when it comes to flooding the bathroom from her playing in the sink, well, that's a whole other issue LOL).

My DS, as I mentioned above, would totally stick something in there. He's been crawling since 4 mos and now at 10 mos, definitely knows how to plug and unplug stuff. He also has an uncanny knack for sticking things where they don't belong. I actually do worry he's going to electrocute himself or get into something equally as dangerous. He's physically development is ahead of his mental development, so he's physically able to do things way before he understands why not. Compared to my DD who was the opposite and understood not to do something long before she was physically able to do it.
post #16 of 37
When I was 3 I was still a thumbsucker. We had moved to a new house & the first night I woke up in the middle of the night but was disoriented in a new room. I ended up inadvertentedly "sticking" my wet thumb into a socket & the shock threw me clear across the room.
post #17 of 37
My sister dropped a necklace behind her dresser when she was around 14 or so. It hit the plug & zapped the electical outlet on her side of the wall. I had one on the other side, but mine was fine.

I'm not sure what my brother did once, but the electrical outlet outside his room was scortched black. I think he put something in but can't quite remember. He was around 5 or so when it happened.

1 day I was sitting in my computer chair touching NOTHING metal & talking to dh on the phone. I grabbed the plastic arm where there is nothing metal & went to stand up. I got a very strong electrical shock up my arm & into the phone. My arm hurt for a couple of hours after that. The phone was fried, the phone plug in was fried & we can no longer use that hook up.
post #18 of 37
When I was young (not a toddler, maybe pre-teen), I pressed my hand (palm) against an outlet in the bathroom. My hand was wet because I just washed it, and I did get shocked. Not enough to cause injury, but my arm was numb for a few minutes... My fingers didn't go in the holes, but it was enough. Since that happened to me, I would assume that babies who often have wet hands could also easily shock themselves in the same way.
post #19 of 37
Quote:
How, exactly, are electric outlets dangerous to children?
Here's my story from last Thursday.

I was using the vacuum, left it plugged in while I went to answer the phone, and in that time DD started to unplug it and touched the metal. She was shocked, but not enough to cause any serious harm (thankfully!).
post #20 of 37
I stuck a bobbypin in an outlet when I was around 4. We were living in Texas at the time and there was a big Browns game being televised (Cleveland is hometown) and my mom and the aunts and everyone were getting ready watch. Well, it shorted everything out, and they didn't get to see the game. It did hurt me slightly, I remember crying.
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