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Re: Child Electrocuted In Bathtub [Re: gfretwell] #171733 12/04/07 03:24 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 810
Theelectrikid Offline
Originally Posted by gfretwell
We keep glossing over the real issue. Why didn't they have a GFCI? That seems to be the common denominator in most electrocution stories.

Either the house didn't come with one and one was never installed, or:

"The GFCI keeps tripping when I plug in my 20 year old blow dryer!" "Must be something wrong with it, I'll get Joe-handy to put a normal outlet in..."

Ian A.

Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?
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Re: Child Electrocuted In Bathtub [Re: InspectorE] #171735 12/04/07 03:37 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
It's a tragedy, but ultimately there is only so much we can do. The report says the mother left the bathroom "briefly," but we don't really know how long that was. Was the hair dryer already plugged in and lying nearby so the girl could grab it easily? Did she fetch it from elsewhere, plug it in, then climb back into the tub to use it? Perhaps a GFCI would have saved her, but then so would being taught not to use a hair dryer in the tub. I wonder if this was a one-off occurrence or if she had used the dryer in there before, or seen her mother do so.

Over here in the U.K. we've had the "no sockets in the bathroom" rule for decades. Our new code due out next year is to allow them though, but only if placed more than 3m (~10 ft.) from the edge of the shower or tub (which means that the average size British bathroom will still be "no sockets," since they're not that large). The outlets will be required to have 30mA RCD (GFCI) protection.

Re: Child Electrocuted In Bathtub [Re: gfretwell] #171747 12/04/07 07:12 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,148
resqcapt19 Offline
Don, you still need a current path through the body and that is usually to ground somewhere.
The L/N path would not go through the body in this scenario.

There in no need for a path to ground to get a fatal shock. The two conductors in the isolated water set up a voltage gradient in the water. There will be current flowing in the water. The wet person will be a parallel path. It is possible that the parallel path through the person could flow enough current to be fatal. If the water is isolated, a GFCI will not prevent this. Maybe we need to bond the water in the tub as will be required for pools in the 2008 code.

Re: Child Electrocuted In Bathtub [Re: resqcapt19] #171754 12/04/07 08:45 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,571
gfretwell Online Content
If there was a GFCI that didn't trip I might agree with you but without a GFCI the most likely current path is through the cast iron tub to ground.

Greg Fretwell
Re: Child Electrocuted In Bathtub [Re: gfretwell] #171756 12/04/07 08:55 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 939
frenchelectrican Offline
Originally Posted by gfretwell
If there was a GFCI that didn't trip I might agree with you but without a GFCI the most likely current path is through the cast iron tub to ground.

Greg.,, now you make me ask this one what if the tub is fiberglassed or plastic and the water supply pipes is all plastic like PLEX type ?? that one part it puzzle me a but but try to think a comquest the idea from the swimming pool related to the voltage gradeuet Vs. of the source.

Merci, Marc

Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

Re: Child Electrocuted In Bathtub [Re: frenchelectrican] #171801 12/05/07 11:03 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 109
njelectricmaster Offline
Hello from South Dakota!!!

I have an 11yr old, 8yr old, and 2yr old running around in my house right now. If this poor womans life is anything like ours, this is the way I see this playing out;

2yr old and 6yr old in the bathtub while mom is doing her hair getting ready for church. Mom needs make-up out of her purse and goes to get it (leaving hair dryer on the ede of the sink).
2yr old gets tired of being the tub and gets out. As the 2yr old gets out of tub she accidentally knocks hair dryer off of the sink edge and into tub, killing her sister.
2yr old runs naked into the living room where Mommy is standing looking into her little pocket mirror putting on her make-up. Mommy puts on the baby's diaper and goes to check on the 6yr old. (This is where the Mother dies in her heart)!

Every day we as individuals, and as a society, do stupid little things that don't always stike us as stupid until something horible happens. It is our responsibility as parents to teach our children the best we can, and in my opinion, it is our duty to teach our fellow man with the knowledge that has been granted us.


Jon Niemeyer
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