Electric shock injuries occur if a child comes in direct contact to an electrical source. Once this occurs, the electrical current moves through the body. Depending on the voltage of the current and span of contact, the shock can cause anything ranging from minor discomfort to serious injury.
Among young children, especially toddlers, they usually experience electric shock if they bite into electrical cords or poke metal objects such as knives or forks into exposed outlets or appliances. Remember that these injuries can also occur when appliances, electric toys or tools are used inappropriately or if the electric current is exposed to water where the child is standing or sitting.
The ideal way to prevent electric shock injuries includes the following:
- Cover all outlets in the house
- Ensure that all wiring is properly insulated
- Conceal wires from the reach of children
- Supervise children when in an area with possible electrical hazards. Even small appliances are considered as a hazard around pools or bathtubs.
What should I do?
- Turn off the power supply before touching a child experiencing an electric shock.
- Do not touch a live wire using your bare hands. If there is a need to lift the live wire away from the child, utilize a rolled-up newspaper, dry stick or thick clothing that does not conduct electricity.
- Limit moving the child since a severe electric shock can cause a spinal fracture.
- In case the source of current could not be removed, try to move the child. This should be done by insulating yourself with rubber or any non-conductive item.
- Once the current is turned off, check the breathing, skin color, pulse and alertness of the child immediately. If not breathing or no heartbeat, perform CPR and ask someone to call for help.
- Once the child is removed away from the current, check of any burns and call for emergency assistance right away.
Management of electric shock injuries
If a child received an electric shock, assessment by a doctor is required due to the potential for internal damage that could not be detected without medical examination.
In case of surface burns, the doctor will clean and dress them and order tests to check for indications of damage to the internal organs. When it comes to mouth burns, they might be deeper than what they appear. Surgery might be needed after the initial healing.
If the child sustained severe burns or any indications of heart or brain damage, he/she should be hospitalized for further treatment.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on electric shock injuries is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage electric shock injuries among children by taking a standard first aid course with Victoria First Aid.