Crawling babies can get their fingers into all kinds of places.
It’s possible for your baby to get an electric shock from household
appliances or from electric sockets in your home. This can be very
serious. If your baby has been electrocuted, they may become
unresponsive or have an electrical burn.
A low voltage of 240 volts is found in the home. Most
low-voltage and high-tension currents are AC (alternating current),
which causes muscular spasms and the ‘locked-on’ phenomenon. This
is where the casualty’s grasp is ‘locked’ on to the object which
prevents them from letting go, so they may remain electrically
Watch our video - what to do if your baby has been
What to do – low-voltage electrocution
Start by performing the primary survey. Remember DR ABC –
Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, Circulation:
1. Danger: if your baby is still in contact
with the electrical current, turn off the source of electricity –
switch off the current at the mains or remove the plug.
Alternatively, use something non-metal to break the contact with
electricity, such as a wooden broom handle. Once you are sure the
contact with the electricity has been broken, check your baby’s
2. Response: see if your baby reacts by gently
tapping or flicking the sole of their foot. If they do not respond
to you, they may be unresponsive. You need to open their airway and
check their breathing.
3. Airway: open the airway. Place a hand on the
baby’s forehead and tilt the head back. Then lift the chin with
your fingertip to open the airway.
4. Breathing: check breathing – look for chest
movement, listen for sounds and try to feel their breath.
- • If they are breathing normally, hold them in the recovery
position – cradle the baby in your arms with their head tilted
- • If they are not breathing normally – keep the airway open and
pick out any visible obstructions from their mouth, but do not
sweep the mouth with your finger looking for obstructions.
5. Circulation: if your baby is awake and
alert, and breathing normally, check them for other injuries. Your
baby may have received an electrical burn.
6. Call 999/112 for help, keep checking their breathing and
response and prepare for CPR if they stop breathing normally.
Burns may occur when electricity passes through the body. There
may be surface damage along the point of contact, or at the points
of entry and exit of the current. There may also be internal damage
between the entry and exit points. If your baby has been
electrocuted and is unresponsive, your priority is to safely
break the contact with electricity, open their airway and check
that they are breathing normally before treating the burn.
What to do – electrical burns
1. Make it safe: make sure contact with the
source of electricity is broken.
2. Call 999/112 for an ambulance
3. Cool: run the burn under cold water for at
least 10 minutes (at the entry and exit points if both are
4. Remove clothing: gently remove your baby’s
clothing around the burn unless it’s stuck to the burn
5. Protect from infection: when the burn is
cooled, cover it with cling film. For burns on the hand and feet,
you could use a clean plastic bag taped loosely in place