My son plays with electricity - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 01-01-2013, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, 

my son nearly killed himself today, and I am freaked out and worried and don't know what to do. 

 

He had one of this little earth globes (don't know what they are in english) that can glow from inside, and he opened it, took it apart, and put his finger in the part where the electricity is supposed to light the bulb. And he got an electric shock with burns on his fingers. 

 

How can I prevent something like this in the future? I think that the only option is to remove everything that is supposed to go into a socket (child locks are no problem for him - anyway) since this globe was his night light and plugged in. 

 

I even removed the office lights and table lights from his sister. 

 

He has ADHD so I don't know how much talking will do here. :( 

I am still thinking about what it would have been like if I would have gone to his room and he would have been lying dead on the floor. 

 

Any tips?

 
 
x-posted in family safety

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I am not regularly online at the moment due to the above ...
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#2 of 10 Old 01-01-2013, 05:27 PM
 
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It is really difficult to electrocute yourself from a wall socket, or anything 110. The amount of amperage that needs to run through the circuit and into a human body usually fries the appliance or trips the breaker long before anything other than a mild burn can happen. Even sticking metal objects, like forks, into wall sockets is unlikely to result in anything other than a burn to the fingertips.

 

One thing you could do is make sure all the circuits in his room, and any other place he is likely to play with electricity, on GFCI breakers. This will protect him in the very unlikely event that a dangerous amount of current were to be accessed.

 

If making all the circuits GFCI is not realistic, I wonder if it is possible to replace the fuses (at the breaker box) with fuses of a lower current. This would cause the breakers to trip more often if there are a lot of appliances and lights going at the same time on that circuit, but it would only be until he was old enough to not play with the wall sockets.

 

Aside from that, I wonder if he would enjoy learning more about electricity in a safe manner. Snap Circuits are kind of fun http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-SC-300-Snap-Circuits/dp/B0000683A4/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1357089787&sr=1-1&keywords=snap+circuits. What is it about taking the light globe apart that interested him, do you think? Did he want to see what was inside? I wonder if you could get him interested in science experiments, and science kits, and stuff like that to accommodate his curiousity. I was going to suggest getting some old appliances and letting him take them apart but I think they don't recommend that because there is stuff in there that can be dangerous even if its not plugged in. I think that is what I remember but I could be wrong. Anyway, he sounds like a wonderfully curious kid, and I'll bet its hard to stay one step ahead of him!

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#3 of 10 Old 01-01-2013, 06:23 PM
 
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Well I agree with the pp that he probably couldn't have killed himself in the situation you described. Take a deep breath. He is OK. smile.gif

When we had issues with DS playing with outlets, step one for us was removing outlet protectors (they just caused him to be more interested in the outlets). We also rewired all our outlets to have built-in shutters so he couldn't stick a screwdriver or something in & complete the circuit. Then we showed him how to plug things in properly (not touching the metal prongs). We also tried to provide a lot of opportunities for him to safely investigate electronics -- gave him old/broken things to take apart. He also has the Snap Circuits the pp mentioned, which he loves, and has helped DH with small electrical repairs (big focus on how we turn off the main power supply first!) We did most of this when he was 2 and he is 4yo now and we haven't had any more issues with him playing inappropriately with electricity. Making things safer when possible, plus providing a safe way to channel his curiosity, seemed to really help.

I know you said talking won't go far but would you be able to get out of him what he was most interested in/why he was exploring that? And assuring him that you will help him find safe ways to satisfy his curiosity, but that he always needs to ask before taking something apart?

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#4 of 10 Old 01-01-2013, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, I forgot to mention, we live in europe. You can kill yourself with a socket here. It's not difficult. 

 

Plus, we live in an old house, and we don't have this security thing that knocks the electricity out if something like that happens. (someone is working on that) 


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#5 of 10 Old 01-02-2013, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all of your suggestions. 

 

I asked him, why he did it, and he said he wanted to know where the light is in the globe, and if his finger would glow as well. 

 

Thank you BellinghamCrunchie (kind of a long nick ;) ) he is very cute and curious. They are all three. 

 

CrunchieMommy, I talked to him, and maybe he'll get it. Unfortunately his has something like zero impulse control, so I don't really know if this would help if he gets in a similar situation. 

Unfortunately nobody here is able to do electricity things here, and I am mighty afraid of it (even though my Dad was doing that for a job). Maybe I will be able to help him with the kit (I hope I can understand it ;) )

 

 

I looked into the snap circuit, and we have still some money for presents from christmas, so I guess I know what I'll get. One question though, it says for 8 years and older, and he is still four. Do you think it's still okay for him?

 

This experience yesterday changed so much about how I see life at the moment. I am supposed to start working again in four weeks, and I am not sure I want to. I have the feeling that my kids need a lot more supervision than I can give them if I go to work. But that a whole different subject, I suppose...

 

Thank you all!


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#6 of 10 Old 01-02-2013, 01:58 AM
 
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If the snap circuits are running off batteries, that's certainly safer than him playing with something plugged in, again.

I am so glad he's alright!!!! When my son was four, he was with me, or I was with him, all the time! I don't know how practical that is for you, certainly *not* if you do start work! I just don't know what to suggest. It's so hard when a curious child experiments on his own. Talking to him, and harping on the need for *all* who experiment need an assistant, just in case of an accident. Maybe that would work? If he's lacking impulse control ... not sure what would work.

I hope someone else has better advice! Certainly battery operated circuits are safer. Good luck!
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#7 of 10 Old 01-02-2013, 06:01 AM
 
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Snap Circuits have instructions/diagrams (similar to Legos) and also have actual snaps that some (OK, probably many/most) preschoolers may struggle with. So it depends on your DS's fine motor skills and also his patience to follow diagrams with your help. I don't think it would be dangerous for a 4yo, it just uses 2 AA batteries and everything is covered in plastic, it's just a matter of whether he'd enjoy something like that at this age. If not, poke around at the other toys on Amazon (the "also bought"/similar ones) and maybe there is something oriented toward younger kids.

I don't know anything about electricity in Europe. greensad.gif Might be worth getting safety advice from people in your area?

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#8 of 10 Old 01-04-2013, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, 

the electrician is coming to get everything safe. And he said that he thinks that the electricity only went through his finger, which fits with his burns. Obviously we were very lucky. 

 

I ordered some snap circuits, they'll arrive on monday. Hopefully I will be able to figure them out ;) 


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#9 of 10 Old 01-04-2013, 06:52 PM
 
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One more suggestion that comes under the heading of "Redirect!" When my super curious boy was interested in the outlets, he was simultaneously interested in lightening. We began talking more and reading more picture books about 'natural electricity' like electric eels, and things like phosphorescent fish, and leaving glow sticks (think raver toy) available especially in dark closets and near the most attractive outlets. (This, along with the education part, which I hear you are not too hopeful about.) In other words, helping him return his interest to the more appropriate realm of his own imagination...  Good luck. 


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#10 of 10 Old 01-05-2013, 09:46 AM
 
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I'd probably pick up some other little gadgets, like mini flashlights, real small tools like keychain levels and small tape measures and pulleys, stomp rockets also.  My ds is now 13 and LOVED everything like that from a very young age and spent months obsessed with his snap circuits set and physics sets (by the company Thames and Kosmos--you'll probably want those when he's older.)  We would just always keep our eyes open for little toys and tools that would keep his busy experimenting hands occupied, so he always had new things to check out.

 

He was always getting himself into dangerous situations as well--pretty scary.  Yes, I have found him at the outlets, he has melted plastic on light bulbs, always wanted to light things on fire at campfires, he has turned on gas burners and picked up drills and power saws in the past just to see what would happen if he pushed this or that.  We learned to unplug everything when we weren't within arm's reach.  Ds was also convinced by 6yo that from watching us drive the car he knew enough that we should let him try it.  We're lucky he hasn't broken a leg jumping off the roof with an improvised parachute.  For years I was so afraid to walk away from him anywhere because he would come up with the most unexpected ideas and try them.  But we have definitely worked to supply him with safe options and he has built and tested his ideas with many safe toys and tools along the way now.  He's learned some caution over time, though a little more would be nice. :)


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