When spring comes into full swing, your backyard becomes the perfect playground for your children, grandchildren or other little ones in your life. It’s great because kids need to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. You’ve probably heard messages about making sure kids get enough exercise each day. Many experts suggest that kids need around 60 minutes of physical activity daily, and your front or backyard offers a great space to reach that goal.
We understand that time outside is important for your child’s health and well-being. So, it’s critical to make sure they have a safe space to play. While scrapes and bruises can be a part of the outdoor experience, electrical hazards shouldn’t be. Looking up for overhead power line hazards is a great way to look out for your kids.
How power line accidents happen and how you can prevent them
Climbing trees near power lines
Climbing trees is a timeless activity for kids. Tree climbing helps children push their boundaries and offers kids a new point of view to discover. However, when a tree is too close to a power line, it can be a safety threat for anyone near the tree, not just our brave little climbers.
Here are a few tips to keep yourself and climbing kiddos safe around trees at home:
- Check trees around your property to see if they are too close to a power line. Trees and tree branches should be at least 15 feet away from a power line.
- Set boundaries on which trees can and can’t be climbed. If you see a tree that is too close to a power line or unsafe to climb, use a visual indicator, like a stripe of paint, and tell your child why they can’t climb that tree.
- Call your local cooperative if a tree is too close to a power line. Your local cooperative is always happy to help remove hazards. Never try to clear branches or remove a tree near a power line yourself.
As the spring wind picks up, it’s a fantastic opportunity for your kids to let their kites take flight. While kites have been flown for thousands of years, the appeal remains the same; your child gets a chance to watch their colorful vessel soar into the sky. Your little one may rush to let their kite fly, but it’s important to remember one thing: kites and power lines don’t mix.
To prevent flying straight for disaster, make sure you always:
- Fly in an open space away from power lines. Feel free to fly if your property has plenty of open space. If not, look to fly at a park or another public area.
- Make sure to fly your kite on days with good weather. Stormy weather, especially lightning, can pose a threat to kite flyers. Strong winds can quickly pull a kite out of a safe flying range and into electrical equipment.
- Never try to retrieve kites caught in electrical equipment. If your child’s kite comes in contact with a power line or other electrical equipment, contact your local cooperative for safe retrieval.
As the warm weather rolls in, it’s fun to take our celebrations outdoors. Balloons can certainly add a pop of color to our outdoor festivities. However, they can also short-circuit electrical equipment, causing a potential power outage, fire or injury if they come in contact with a power line.
If you use balloons, especially metallic balloons, for an outdoor event, make sure to follow the guidelines set by Safe Electricity to avoid a dangerous result:
- Keep balloons with helium tethered at all times. This is especially important on windy spring days. If the wind is too strong, consider keeping the balloons indoors.
- Puncture balloons with helium when they are no longer in use. This practice will reduce the likelihood of one flying toward a power line.
- Never try to retrieve a balloon entangled with a power line. Like a kite, any balloon that comes in contact with a power line should be considered dangerous. Contact your local cooperative to avoid injury.
Taking to the skies with an RC plane or drone can be an awesome experience. While radio-controlled planes have been around for decades, drones are growing in popularity due to their recreational and videography applications. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are more than 1.1 million recreational drones registered with the agency.
Kids need to understand how to be safe with flying tech. Here are a few tips you can follow to stay safe around power lines:
- Make sure your child is comfortable and capable of flying their RC plane or drone. They need to understand the boundaries and rules that come with flying toys. Find great flying safety tips here.
- Find an open space for your child to fly. Like flying a kite, it’s best to find an open field or park free of power lines or other electrical equipment.
Learn more about outdoor electrical safety
Outdoor electrical safety isn’t just for kids. Learn how to spot and avoid potential outdoor hazards by visiting our outdoor electrical safety page and listening to this episode of the Power For Your Life Podcast.
Contact your local electric cooperative if you see any potential problems with power lines or other electrical equipment on your property. They want to help keep you and your family safe!