Through the summer, children frequently play outside. Typical activities include climbing trees, flying kites, playing tag, soccer and other ball games, and exploring.
Some of these activities could put kids at risk of contact with electricity, so be sure they are aware of electrical dangers that could put a frightening halt to playtime.
Educate your children on these safety measures:
- Look up and look out for power lines. It is important to keep yourself and any play items away from power lines or anything that could be in contact with those lines. For example, kites should only be flown during good weather conditions in large open areas like a park or a field. In addition, kites should be flown away from overhead power lines or other electrical equipment. A kite string can conduct electricity from an overhead line directly to the person on the ground.
- It’s dangerous to climb trees near power lines. Climbing a tree tangled in a power line can energize the tree with electricity and lead to electric shock or death.
- Stay away from the electrical service connection to your home (and that of other homes they may visit, too). For example, pool skimmers can be long enough to reach service connection lines.
- Never play around pad mounted transformers. These are green metal boxes that contain the aboveground portion of an underground electrical installation. Pad mount transformers carry high voltages and are safe when locked, but they can be deadly if someone reaches inside. If you (or they) see one in your neighborhood that is open, call authorities and your utility immediately.
- Don’t 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.
In addition to talking to your children about outdoor safety, there are also steps you, as parents, and your child’s caregivers can take to help ensure safe outdoor play.
- Make sure all outdoor outlets are equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to help prevent electric shock.
- Keep all long-handled tools out of reach of children so they will not be tempted to or accidentally hit an overhead power line.
- Pay attention to trees and power lines. Do not plant trees near them, and if there is a tree that has grown into a power line, call a professional to trim the tree.
For more information on outdoor electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.