Parents, grandparents, and any one who has children visiting their home for the holidays:
Sometimes we take for granted that our kids know to stay away from electrical outlets. Think about it: we cover them up with plastic covers when they are infants, then as they grow up and out of that stage and don’t need them anymore, we toss them out the one day we vacuum and get sick of pulling it off, or the kids play with them and lose them as they grow and change.
That doesn’t mean they are not dangerous!
Little Sis is eight, and has been living with us for nearly a year. I know she knows electrical safety; I know we’ve discussed it several times.
We may not have explained enough, or maybe it’s just the adventure and unknown side of childhood that fit this gray area over the holidays.
Either way, when she came downstairs to show us her broken Hello Kitty necklace, it took less than a minute of checking it out to realize something more than broken links had happened to her favorite necklace.
She was nervous but wanting us to know, and the more questions I asked, the more relieved she was to see I understood what happened.
Together, we went to the upstairs bathroom to check out the outlet and have her replay what happened, and this is what we found:
She had her necklace with her in the bathroom and was trying to dangle it from the towel holder.
As she draped it over the hanger, it fell and dropped right below… to the space between the nightlight plug and it’s two metal tines, fully charging as they are plugged into the wall.
Since the nightlight was powered, the metal of the necklace literally sparked and sizzled and split her little necklace in pieces.
We are so grateful that was all the damage that was done, that it wasn’t worse or hadn’t started a fire.
We used a Magic Eraser and reset the GFCI, and a borrowed jewelry kit from big sister Abby helped us put some links back in her necklace so she could wear it that night.
She was a little too scared and skittish over the events of the evening to play with her necklace any more, but it was a great opportunity to earn her trust and talk about fire safety and open communication.
Please, use our scare in our home to spur a conversation with the kiddoes in your life: kids don’t understand electrical safety. The scary tags on the hair dryers and toys are not enough to explain what safety means to them or their home. Their brains cannot process all the science behind it at certain ages, and need to be told more often as they grow. And foster babies you have in your home may have never been told or explained to, and their first instinct at scary trouble may be to hide and cover the problem rather than come to you for help.
So please, have that conversation with them, with all of them.
Check your outlets and plugs and cords and wires that your kids live around every day.
Let them know you are there to keep them safe, and will help them through any messes they make, and any trouble they get in to.
It just might save their life, and your heartache. There is nothing better than knowing you have earned a child’s trust in your life…!
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