The Electrical Safety Council
A UK based Charity is warning parents of the dangers of regular domestic electrical sockets
They say :
‘Nesting’ parents are putting their families’ lives at risk when preparing the home for children through a misplaced reliance on socket covers and a worrying lack of other electrical safety protection, a study from the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has found.
* Parents relying too heavily on socket covers at the cost of basic electrical safety measures
* Only 38% of new parents’ homes have adequate RCD protection - exposing their families to risk of lethal electric shock or fire, yet three quarters (74%) believe their homes are safe
* Pressure from parenting community and product manufacturers could be leading to misguided safety decisions
* ESC challenges the child product market to educate new parents on what is truly safe
* Parents encouraged to download ESC’s free ‘Home Electrical Safety Check’ Smartphone app
The study found that electrical safety is of paramount concern to parents – of all child safety measures taken by parents, socket covers are the most common with 62% of parents[ using them, more than baby monitors or stair barriers. However, regular sockets are generally safe and socket covers will not prevent electric shock if the installation is not safe.
The only way to be safe from a fatal electric shock and reduce the risk of fire is to ensure your installation is safe and that there is an RCD (Residual Current Device) in the fusebox, which prevents fatal electric shock and minimises the risk of fire. Worryingly, only 38% of new parents’ homes are adequately protected by this vital device, well below the national average for homes with RCD protection (50%). This is a particular cause for concern as three quarters (74%) of parents feel that they have taken appropriate steps to ensure the safety of their children in the home.
Electrical safety is a serious problem in the UK. At least one person dies each week in their own home, while 350,000 people are seriously injured annually. Electrical accidents also cause almost half of all house fires.
The absence of RCD protection increases the likelihood of injury or death, compounded by the fact that 67% of new parents undertake DIY in preparation for their child, with 45% drilling into walls or using power tools. Almost a fifth of young parents (17%) admitted to attempting DIY without being confident of safety.
Kristine, 30, from London, was lucky to survive her electrical accident when she was doing DIY to prepare her home for her first child. She said: “I was re-plastering the wall and didn’t realise the mains were still on, the wet plaster gave me a shock that could have killed me. I just didn’t realise how important RCD protection was until the accident, not only for protecting my daughter once she was crawling and sticking her finger where she shouldn’t, but also to protect myself for her sake.”
Almost half of young parents (45%) said they felt overwhelmed when it comes to ensuring the safety of their children. Their predominant focus on socket covers could stem from pressure from the parenting community – retailers, media and other parents – to buy these devices, which is leading them to misguided and too simplistic decisions. The research found that 28% of new parents felt that pressure from retailers led to buying safety products, while 25% said parent peer pressure was a purchase factor. The ESC is appealing to the parenting community to take responsibility for educating new parents about real electrical dangers and the importance of an RCD.
Phil Buckle, Director General of the Electrical Safety Council, said: “We have found that new parents have a worrying lack of knowledge about electrical safety issues. We aim to raise awareness of the hazards in the home and the simple steps that parents can take to both ensure the safety of their family and pass on this knowledge to their children as they grow up.
We are also challenging product manufacturers and parenting media to offer parents key electrical safety advice, instead of offering socket covers as a ‘one stop’ solution. We are not saying parents shouldn’t have socket covers, but they must do more than that as these products could be removed by inquisitive children. The only way to be sure of protecting your children from the range of electrical dangers in the home is with RCD protection.”
The ESC is also encouraging parents to download their free ‘Home Electrical Safety Check’ app, which allows anyone to do a quick, visual check of their home to ensure it is electrically safe.
Designed to be as easy to use as possible, the app highlights potential dangers in each room and explains how to resolve simple, non-technical problems. Where more serious issues are flagged, people are advised to use a registered electrician. The app is available for iPhone and Android phones.
The new Home Electrical Safety Check app from the Electrical Safety Council is terrific … just go to your APPS store and search on Home Electrical Safety app ….
To give you an idea of how it works, there is a checklist function for each room/area of a house listed as follows;
When you click on the relevant area it brings up a list of accessories you could have in that room, for example sockets, lights and electrical appliances to name a few, so if you click on 'Bathroom' and then 'sockets' it has the following come up...
'if there are sockets in the bathroom, they must be protected by an RCD (residual current device) and a minimum of three meters away from the bath or shower to avoid water splashes'.
In each section the user gets the chance to tick the areas that may need to resolved or get a registered electrician to look at. Each ticked item then gets put in the 'Flagged for review' section of the app for the user to return too. Anything that is highlighted with a yellow triangle advises the user to speak with a registered electrician about that particular matter.
We found the app really easy to use and informative so will be telling our domestic customers about it. Hopefully more app's will become available in the future to help raise electrical awareness in homes and businesses as electrical safety still seems to take a back seat at times.
The app is available for iPhone and Android phones - just go to the App Store or Android Market, search for ‘Home Electrical Safety Check’ then follow the instructions to download. It's free so what you waiting for!
“We have found that new parents have a worrying lack of knowledge about electrical safety issues.”