Dealing with Electric Shock in Children - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Dealing with Electric Shock in Children

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 2 Sep 2014 - 17:04.

Infants and children too, have their share of electrical shock mainly because of inadequate care by parents and the kids' innocent and inquisitive nature.
In countries like the US, household power supplies have low voltage currents and in most cases acalamitous situation doesn’t happen. This explains why mishaps in children are not as common despite the factthat electric outlets are at a very low level in the reach of a child.
A moving child is very explorative and can stick his/her finger or other objects into the electrical outlets particularly if they are situated at a lower level. Invariably the child is fond of licking the outlet if situated at a perfect height for an inquisitive and curious baby.
What can happen if the child is electrocuted?
Whenever a child’s finger or mouth comes in contact with an electric current it runs through part of his body. This can cause a split second sensation, a mild burn, a major burn or even a serious injury depending upon the strength and type of current. If the current is strong it can enter the body at one place and leave at another place damaging the tissues enroute. A bad shock may even knock him out or even stop his breathing. Usually the child escapes with a mild burn at the place where the current has entered the body. Assuming that the child has played with a power outlet either with his finger inside or he has licked the outlet with his tongue it is essential for the mother to act promptly without panicking.
If the child is not in pain, it means he is doing fine. If he is found crying it is possible he is scared because of a spilt second sensation of current flowing. However, the child should be observed for burns on his/her skin. An electric shock can cause a serious burn. Even if it doesn’t look serious outside, chances are that it could be deep and painful.
What to do if the child has had anelectric shock?
  • If the baby has a burn and is turning pale, take him to an emergency hospital without any loss of time because the burn may be severe and he might be in a stage of shock.
  • If your baby has licked a current outlet and there is any sign of a burn,the child must be taken to an emergency hospital at once because any burn on the lips, which might look small or minor, may start bleeding profusely after few hours.
  • For a mild burn just run the skin under cool water for several minutes and covers it with a clean bandage.
  • Never put any ointment, powders like turmeric or any lotion as they may promote the growth of bacteria around the wound. A small amount of antibiotic ointment may help preventing sticking of the bandage to the burn wound. You can use acetaminophen drops (crocin drops) to reduce pain.
How can one prevent a child from an electric shock?
  • The best way to prevent kids from getting electric shock is to avoid installing outlets at lower levels so that the inquisitive child cannot reach them. You can use dummy coversare available which can be plugged in to prevent accidental contacts by the kids.
  • You can even put heavy furniture in front of the outlets to prevent the child from handling them. Never leave loose wires in reach of your child. Extreme caution is necessary to avoid keeping anything plugged in near a bath tub or in the bath room where you bathe your baby.
  • Water conducts electricity. Therefore it is essential not to leave your hair driers plugged in. If it falls down while you are giving bath to your child it might electrocute you both because of high conductivity of current by the water.
*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.