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Think safety as your kids head back to school

Posted on 8/9/2017

 Back to School Safety

Written by: Communications Staff

It may be hard to believe, but some kids are already back in school. No matter your kids' ages, school days can mean more time away from adults, whether it's at daycare, recess or waiting for parents to come home from work. If your little (or not-so-little) ones haven't started back to school yet, they will soon, so now is the time to review some safety tips with them. Whether your kids are entering kindergarten, in middle or high school, or are on their way to college, there are always safety keeps to keep top of mind.

Take some time to discuss these important safety tips with your kids:

At school

  • Make sure your have dry hands before plugging anything into an outlet. Pay extra attention in science labs, since lab spaces often have wet surfaces and electrical outlets. Always keep your lab spaces clean and dry.
  • When unplugging anything, always use the thick, plastic base around the plug itself. Never pull on or tug the cord.
  • Make sure you keep your clothes, books, or other flammable materials away from heating sources, ovens, or stoves.
  • If you ever smell natural gas, follow these three important steps: smell, leave and tell.

At home or in the dorm

  • Get in the habit of unplugging devices and equipment not being used.
  • Choose a power strip with a heavy cord. Only use a power strip that is UL-certified and has the appropriate electrical rating for the device you intent to plug into it.
  • Do not use frayed or damaged extension cords.
  • When cooler temperatures roll around, plug portable heaters directly into the outlet. If absolutely necessary, only use an extension cord that is rated for this use and can handle the electrical current.
  • Don't overload your outlets or power strips. Power strips can be very useful with all of our modern devices, but misuse can lead to serious injury. Make sure to use them according to their rating, and always try to place them where they aren't a trip hazard.
  • Never attempt to remove the third prong from the plug of an electrical outlet product. This third prong serves to ground the charge and is a critical safety device.

Out and about

  • Never climb on or play around electrical boxes or power lines.
  • Do not approach a downed power line. If you see one, stay far away and call IPL's "Lights Out, Day or Night" emergency number at 317.261.8111.
  • Don't throw shoes over power lines, and never try to remove a pair of shoes hanging on power lines.
  • Keep kites, drones, balls, etc. away from power lines. If your kite looks like it might contact a power line, let go of the string immediately.
  • Don't forget that the first month or two of the school year are still warm weather months. Check out some of our warm weather safety tips, too!

Addressing electrical safety with your kids is well worth the effort. Over 30,000 non-fatal shock accidents occur each year. On average, hospital emergency rooms treat seven children every day for electrical shock or burn injuries caused by wall outlets and over 4,000 injuries per year relating to electrical extension cords.

IPL cares deeply about families in our service territory, and we have a long history of spreading awareness about electrical safety. If you would like to schedule a safety demonstration for your school or neighborhood, visit our Safety 101 page on As always, for more tips and information, please visit IPL's safety page.

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