If your toddler receives an electric shock, the result can be minor or extremely damaging. When an electrical current is touched, it travels through the body looking for a place to exit. Along the way, the current can damage everything in its path. Depending on the strength and type of the current and the length of exposure, the shock can cause a mild jolt, various levels of burn, or serious internal injuries.
When a child is shocked, they may have burns, numbness, muscle contractions, pain, weakness, headaches, or problems hearing. If the shock is strong enough, a child can be rendered unconscious and stop breathing. They can also have seizures, cardiac arrest, brain damage, heart damage, or damage to other organs. Death can also rapidly occur in a severe shock.
If your child is shocked and you witness it, immediately shut off the source of the electricity by unplugging the cord, turning off circuit breakers, or removing the fuse from the fuse box. The source must be removed before your child can be touched. If it is not possible to remove the source, use a non-metallic object to separate the electrical source from your child. For instance, if your child is holding a metal pole, use a broom handle or rolled up magazine to knock his hand away from the pole before you touch him.
Check your child’s breathing and begin CPR if required. Have someone call emergency services at the same time, or if you have nobody available, call them yourself after administering CPR for two minutes.
If your child is breathing, look at his skin colour. If he is very pale, call for emergency help and monitor his breathing.
Check for skin that looks burned. If burns are present, do not put ice or ointment on them. Your child should be taken to the hospital unless you are certain that the burn is very minor and no other damage is present. In the case of minor burns, call your child’s doctor. The doctor will clean and dress the burns and make sure that there is no internal damage. If internal damage is suspected, your child will have lab tests and may even require hospitalisation.