What to do when a child has suffered an electric shock

By Mieke Vlok
27 July 2015

We spoke to an expert to get tips on what to do during a crisis like this one.

When a child suffers from an electric shock, you might get such a fright that you have no idea what to do.

  • Check that the mains switch is off before touching the patient, says Dr Julian Fleming, medical manager of the Western Cape health department’s emergency services division. If this isn’t possible it’s safer to wait for professional help.
  • Serious shocks can also lead to internal burn wounds, which can be fatal, so call emergency services.
  • “Look out for two wounds – the entrance and the exit wound.” The exit wound will be in the area of the body that touched the ground.
  • Even though light shocks are very painful, a bandage and antibacterial ointment are enough to treat them.

He says professional help must be summoned if the victim has:

  • Serious burn wounds
  • If they’re confused or have difficulty breathing
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle pain
  • Spasms
  • Convulsions

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