Phone Safety: Chargers and Accessories
We all know that electronics are an integral part of our lives. We rely on them for everything from getting us up in the morning, to communications, to cooking our food. With all of these uses, there are bound to be some downfalls as well. One of these safety concerns relates to the surge of power that runs through these devices. This can become dangerous if wires are exposed to conductive materials such as other metals or water.
The charging cables for your phone fall into the category of products that transfer large amounts of of electricity. These should be handled and stored properly to minimize risk of using them incorrectly.
- Never get your charging cable or device wet. If either of them does get wet, leave it out to dry completely, both internally and externally, before attempting to use either of them.
- Never use your phone in the shower, especially while it is plugged in to charge. Just because your phone is water proof, or water resistant, does not mean that it is good idea to use it around water. It is more of a feature to help protect your phone if you accidentally drop it in a puddle or the sink.
- When not in use, unplug your charging cable from the wall or power source. The end of your charger can still conduct electrical current as long as it is connected to a power source.
- Avoid buying cheap chargers, they are typically made of cheaper products. This not only increases the risk of them breaking, but also the risk of malfunction that could potentially damage your phone, create a fire hazard, or even cause damage to a person.
- Make sure your charger is not covered when plugged in. The electrical current can become a source of heat. If you have a blanket or pillow over your phone while it is charging, the heat can build up, creating a fire hazard.
- Do not leave a device plugged in over night. Many new chargers have a trickle charge feature that will prevent your device from over charging. If this system becomes faulty, it may create a fire hazard or cause damage to your device.
Real Life Scenarios
Recently in the news, a young girl from India tragically died from playing with a charging cable. The 2 year old was at her grandmother's house when she found the charging cable and began to play with it. Not knowing any better, she put it in per mouth. The cable was still plugged into the wall, which in turn electrocuted the young girl.
Earlier this year, a 14 year old girl passed away when her phone exploded near her head while she was sleeping. The teenager had fallen asleep with her phone under her pillow, so she could hear the music it was playing as she fell asleep. The phone was also plugged in to charge. The build-up of the heat under the pillow from the phone charging, caused the battery to explode, killing the young girl.
A woman in China was at home charging her phone when she received a call. She picked up the phone to answer it while it was still charging. When she made contact, she was electrocuted, which eventually lead to her death. The death in believed to have been caused from a cheap charger that did not have proper insulation over the wires, allowing them to wear and become exposed quite easily.
A 16 year old in Malaysia died from electrocution through his ears. He had his phone plugged in and charging, at the same time that he had his headphones plugged in so he could listen to music. His mother found him unresponsive in his room with blood coming out of his ears.
A teenager in the United States died from using her phone in the bathtub. She ran an extension cord to the bathtub so she could charge her phone while she played on it in the bathtub. Mixing electricity and water is never a good idea, even though she took some precautions. She had a towel on the edge of the tub to keep the phone on and keep it dry. Unfortunately she was still electrocuted in this incident.
Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones
These stories are unfortunate, and I am sorry for the families of the deceased, especially since they were all younger people with a lot of life in front of them. These stories also reinforce the importance of having a quality phone charging cable, and knowing how to use it responsibly. Do your research, buy reputable cables, and follow the safety tips above to help increase your awareness and minimize the chance of damaging your device, charger, or even yourself.