Three in four children face potential electrical fire hazard in their room

PUBLISHED: 07:57 03 August 2016 | UPDATED: 08:03 03 August 2016

Electrical hazard

Electrical hazard

Archant

Children today may be digital natives, but majority are lacking electrical safety savvy, warn experts

New research carried out by Electrical Safety First shows many tech savvy children are leaving themselves open to serious dangers in their bedrooms. More than half (53 per cent) of all children admitted that they had left their phone, laptop or tablet charging on their bed, almost two in five (38per cent) were guilty of leaving their phones charging under their pillow overnight and more than a quarter (27per cent) have bought or used a cheap unbranded charger.

Charging appliances on beds – which this research reveals is a common occurrence – leaves families open to a real risk of fire. If a device, such as a phone or a tablet, is left surrounded by bedding or under a pillow, there is nowhere for the generated heat to dissipate and it will to become hotter and hotter.

The heat caused by the device, combined with flammable materials, has the potential to cause fire and put property or even lives in danger. Even if the device is manufactured to the correct safety standards, it can still become very dangerous, very quickly, if not charged on a table or similar appropriate environment.

The finding that more than a quarter of all children surveyed have used or purchased a cheap unbranded charger is also extremely worrying. Counterfeit or substandard chargers are the most potentially dangerous counterfeit items Electrical Safety First has tested. These chargers often contain faulty parts that can overheat and catch fire or deliver a fatal electric shock.

Electrical Safety First found that children have on average 10 electrical items in their bedroom, ranging from fairy lights and hair straighteners to phone chargers and tablets. This is almost 25per cent more than the number of electrical items that their parents’ generation had in their bedroom when growing up.

The number of electronic items in children’s and teens’ rooms, combined with an increasing number of counterfeit or substandard electrical products on the market, means children today are exposed to many more electrical safety risks compared to their parents’ generation.

The research also shows that more than five out of six children (84per cent) have downloaded or plan to download Pokemon Go – the must-have app for the summer. As the game quickly drains device batteries, chargers will be playing an even bigger part in family life.

Worryingly, the findings show that parents are even more likely than their children to take risks with electrics. Some 84per cent admitted to taking risks compared to 79per cent of children. For example, two in five parents have used or purchased a cheap unbranded charger.

Emma Apter, Head of Communications, Electrical Safety First said: “The research shows that unwittingly, many parents and children are taking big risks with their safety. Technology has advanced at a rapid pace over the last 20 years and children’s bedrooms now contain more sophisticated technology than ever before. Many parents are unaware of the electrical dangers in their children’s bedrooms and how one person’s bad habits could put the whole family at risk. We’d like parents to understand the risks and lead by example.”

Electrical Safety First has produced a short video to highlight the dangers of charging an electrical device on a bed. For advice about how to keep you and your family safe in the home, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/modernfamily.

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