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Keep Kids Safe Around Household Appliances

Aug 17, 2007
The world of household appliances knows no borders. I'm betting that if you walked into every room in your house there would be an appliance in there - even if it were a table lamp.

That's great in terms of having loads of stuff in your house to make life easier, quicker and more fulfilled -if the ads are to be believed -but some of these appliances can be a hazard in the wrong hands, by which I mean little hands!

However, accidents due to product faults alone only account for between 0.4% and 1.6% of home accidents and most of the faults are due to a lack of servicing and maintenance and generally in relation to the electrics. That means it is down to you to make sure appliances are kept in good working condition.

If something is relatively new and still under guarantee then see if you can get it serviced to help prolong a safe life.

If you're buying a new appliance, check that it has the British Standards Kite mark on it (see our Safety Marks article). This is a guarantee of a good production quality. It deals with the safety of electrical appliances for household and similar purposes and has been updated to incorporate requirements for the use of Protective Electronic Circuits in household and similar electrical appliances. This means appliances will be safer to use in terms of electrical safety when in use or left plugged in.

Recent opinion polls showed that over 60% of consumers would choose a product affixed with the BSI Kite mark over a similarly priced product so look out for it. It should be on the packaging as well as the product.

What About Appliances Around the House?
Apart from the electrical hazard, the appliances themselves are hazardous. The main way to avoid accidents with them when not in use is to make sure they are properly stored and that flexes aren't left hanging tantalizingly out of the box lid or from the shelf - it only takes one tug to bring a blender down on a little one's head from a cupboard so make sure flexes are tucked away.

Similarly, when in use, make sure appliances are not near the edges of work surfaces in the kitchen or that iron flexes aren't left dangling over the edge of the ironing board. If you can, get a cordless iron so that this is not an issue. Again, make sure the holders for cordless products are kept well back from the edge of the worktop.

If an appliance is battery operated, to be completely sure, remove the batteries between uses if it isn't used that often.

For older children learning to use appliances such as hairdryers, make sure they switch them off, unplug them after use and store them if possible. If in the kitchen, never let children use appliances unsupervised. Many have sharp blades in them and it is too easy to put fingers in while in use, so always supervise children in and around the kitchen, don't take short cuts by leaving lids off appliances while you cook and by taking children with you if you have to leave the room.

Try and also buy kitchen appliances that have auto shut off if they get jammed.

Also make sure that with younger children around you use a plug guard that prevents little fingers going into the sockets when something is unplugged, such as a vacuum cleaner, when you have finished with it or are moving to another room. You can also buy guards to cover the front of video players and as they are a temptation, ensure that TVs, videos, stereos etc are switched off at the mains and preferably in a cupboard to avoid too much temptation.
About the Author
Joyce Jackson is a child safety expert and administrator for Keeping Kids Saf. For tips and more information see Keeping Kids Safe.
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