Experts warn electronics, water don't mix

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) - A 14-year-old girl in New Mexico (see below) likely was electrocuted on Sunday after her charging cell phone fell into her bathtub. This tragic and unusual thing should be a wake-up call for those who charge their phones around water.

The danger of charging a phone on the sink or on the edge of a tub is something that many people do not think about. What would you do if yours fell into water while it's plugged in?

While Wyatt Trobaugh is enjoying summer, soon the 11-year-old boy knows he will be back in school learning about electricity.

"I thought it was pretty dangerous. It hurts people if it's used in the wrong way," Wyatt said.

He has a tablet, which was not anywhere near the water on Tuesday.

"I don't want it to get wet and break," Wyatt said. "It cost money and money isn't easy to get when you're 11.”

His friend's mom, Tawmya Brown, has rules in her house about where electronics can be used.

"We have designated spots in our house for electronics: not bathroom, not kitchen," Brown said.

A City Utilities of Springfield spokesman, Joel Alexander, said that is a good rule.

"You don't want to become a victim yourself whether it's a shock or an electrocution," Alexander said.

What if you are there when a phone fell into the water? The first thing: call 9-1-1.

"If there's a way to turn the power off while you're waiting for help, do that," Alexander said.

"The first instinct I would have would be to reach in and grab it. But I think I would think twice now,” Brown said.

That is something that Wyatt will have to teach his younger siblings.

"They are annoying, but if they died I don't think I'd feel too good," he said.

He said you can still have fun without getting electrocuted.

"I say don't do it. You could kill yourself in the process," said Wyatt.

Reports of electrocution because of charging cell phones are rare. In one case, a woman was dripping wet and answered her charging cell phone. In another, a man was taking a shower with his earphones in and hooked up to a charging cell phone.

Most experts agree you should avoid the water near your phone and using cheap third-party chargers because they might not have enough insulation against shock or electrocution.


LOVINGTON, N.M. (AP) - Police in New Mexico are investigating whether a teenager from Texas was electrocuted when she grabbed her charging cellphone while bathing.

Lovington Police Detective Sgt. David Miranda said Tuesday that the 14-year-old girl from Lubbock died on Sunday while visiting her father.
He says no cause of death has been established, but initial evidence suggests electrocution. Miranda says a cellphone, a charging cord and an extension cord were found by the bathtub.

Miranda says investigators are awaiting results of an autopsy.

The girl's mother and grandmother say they believe the girl was electrocuted when she grabbed her cellphone while its charging cable was plugged into a live extension cord.

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