A chain of easily preventable events aligned, leading to this young woman’s death
A few thoughts on a story yesterday out of Lubbock, Texas about 14-year-old Madison Coe who died on Sunday, electrocuted after her cell phone fell into the bathtub while it was plugged in, charging. (via KCBD News)
Some details have not yet been released, but it’s probable that any one of these protections could have prevented this tragedy
- There should never be electrical outlets near a bathtub.
- Every outlet in a bathroom or kitchen must be GFCI protected. This is not optional.
- Cheap, off-brand phone chargers that are not UL/ETL/CSA listed and do not have proper circuit isolation, as was likely in use here, are dangerous even in everyday circumstances. You’re risking not only your electronics, but also your life. Never buy cheap, off-brand phone or laptop chargers, or use one without a UL/ETL/CSA mark.
- Failing all those conditions, people must be reminded to never use plugged-in electronics near water. Period.
And with off-brand phone chargers, it has happened before
In 2016, UL tested 400 USB chargers from Amazon and eBay, “and the results were literally shocking. The overall failure rate exceeded 99 percent. All but three failed our basic safety tests and were fire and shock hazards.”
Other investigations have revealed the same, with some chargers having less than 1mm between high voltage and charging circuitry, and others with improper circuit design offering little or no isolation at all.