Electricity Dos and Don'ts

Reduce your family's risk of electric shock by following this advice


  • Crawl around your house for a child's-eye view of potential hazards.
  • Place safety covers on all unused outlets.
  • Replace -- never tape -- cracked or frayed cords.
  • Install ground-fault circuit interrupters -- designed to switch off power if they detect changes in electrical current -- on any outlet that could be exposed to water, such as in the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Place furniture in front of outlets to keep them out of your child's sight.
  • Use cord covers to tuck loose electrical cords against a baseboard so children can't pull, chew, or trip on them.
  • Know where your home's fuse boxes and circuit breakers are and how to turn them off in an emergency.


  • Use extension cords as permanent substitutes for too few outlets.
  • Overload an extension cord with more appliances than it is designed to accommodate.
  • Keep appliances close to the sink or tub, where they could accidentally fall into the water.
  • Run electrical cords under rugs. Walking over cords could fray or damage them.
  • Allow electrical cords to hang off countertops, where a child might pull them.


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