Hi! I’m Sarah Shell, dentist and founder of Geddy’s Mom. I’m also Geddy’s actual mom. Which is a privilege unto itself. When he was just over a year old, he grabbed one of our many USB Chargers left plugged in and sucked on it like it was a straw. My mind instantly flashed to the disfiguring injuries I had studied of children doing the same thing – the current from their charger released in to the child’s face and the trauma would last a lifetime. In that instant, I dashed for the charger and grabbed it from him.
He was lucky. I realized that most moms probably had a similar experience. I also realized there was nothing on the market to mitigate this hazard.
So I started doing my research. And I talked to anyone with knowledge who would talk to me. My research revealed some terrifying studies and information from leaders in safety who are also non-profits, like North America’s leading voice in electrical safety UL, the Communications Cable & Connectivity Association, UK’s Electrical Safety First, government-run safety authorities like UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority, the US’s Consumer Product Safety Commission, and even the incredible Children’s Burn Foundation of California.
Yes, I spoke to their directors, chiefs of safety, press secretaries, public health advisors, doctors, etc. And they all had the same thing to say: USB Chargers are unpredictable. When a charger is left plugged in when not in use, current remains in those wires. And if their insulation is not adequate, the current can be released through its free metal tip with skin contact, jewelry contact, and the injury can be even more pronounced when subjected to a moist environment, like a mouth. I learned from child safety advocates that toddlers are curious investigators who will grab at and likely ‘mouth’ anything in their line of site.
Generic and counterfeit chargers, which are commonly purchased on third party markets like Amazon or independent discount stores, are not subjected to the quality control of purchasing directly from brands like Apple and Samsung and typically do not have the level of isolation required to keep the current in check. But EVEN Apple, who states that 90% of their branded chargers sold on Amazon are counterfeit, notes that injuries from true Apple chargers can result from extended skin contact or placement of the tip in a moist environment.
Everyone I spoke to cautioned me of the dangers of USB Chargers around kids. And all agreed that the information is not given the air of caution it deserves. And that 90% of counterfeit Apple chargers on Amazon? Well, UL and ESA tested them. The results are infuriating: 99% failed basic safety tests. UK concluded that most had the potential to deliver a lethal electrical shock or cause a fire. 12 of the 400 tested in North America had the potential to cause electrocution (death by electric charge), and only 3 of the 400 passed their basic safety tests.
So, in consultation with doctors, engineers, safety advocates, and designers, I created Watch Your Mouth USB safety covers – made in the USA of non-toxic non-conductive material, with a child-resistant closure, containing no small parts, in a variety of pleasant colors for the home that won’t attract a little one’s eye. Did I mention Watch Your Mouth has been the recipient of basically every award in the juvenile and child safety industry?
Unplug or cover your USB Chargers with Watch Your Mouth by Geddy’s Mom. And sleep easy(er).
Sarah Shell, DDS