Appliances such as telephones and radios should never, ever be used while sitting in a bathtub
LOVINGTON, New Mexico -- A 14-year-old girl died in New Mexico over the weekend after her charging cellphone apparently fell into a bathtub.
The family of Madison Coe said the teen was electrocuted when she was in a bathtub at her father's home in Lovington, New Mexico, Sunday, according to KCBD.
The girl's mother and grandmother, who live in Lubbock, Texas, said she either plugged her cellphone in or simply grabbed her phone that was already plugged in to a bathroom outlet.
"There was a burn mark on her hand, the hand that would have grabbed the phone," said Donna O'Guinn, the girl's grandmother. "And that was just very obvious that that's what had happened."
Since her death, her family is turning to Facebook to inform people of the dangers involving electrical appliances that aren't waterproof.
A memorial fund has been set up that will pay for funeral costs. That fund can be found here.
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -
A 14-year-old girl from Lubbock died early Sunday morning after being electrocuted in a bathtub.
Madison Coe's mother and grandmother tell us she was in the bathtub, and either plugged her phone in or simply grabbed her phone that was already plugged in. It happened at her father's house in Lovington, NM.
Madison just graduated 8th grade from Terra Vista Middle School in Frenship ISD.
"It is with heavy hearts that Frenship ISD mourns the loss of Madison Coe. We wish to share our heartfelt sympathy with her family and friends as we carry the burden of this tragedy together," officials with FISD said.
Madison was expected to attend high school in Houston, as her family was in the process of moving.
"I call her my shining star," her grandmother, Donna O'Guinn, said.
Madison Coe was a 14-year-old, wise beyond her years.
"She was very smart, a very good student in school. She just loved life," O'Guinn said.
Madison had so much of her life ahead of her, as she made an impact on those around her with her positivity and kindness.
She was a basketball player and the number one chair with her tuba in the band at Terra Vista Middle School.
"She was just sweet to everybody and everybody loved her," O'Guinn said.
As O'Guinn fights back the tears, she says it is hard to understand why her granddaughter’s life was taken far too soon.
Her family says Madison was in the bathtub and grabbed her phone that was plugged into a charger in a bathroom outlet.
"There was a burn mark on her hand, the hand that would have grabbed the phone. And that was just very obvious that that’s what had happened," O'Guinn said.
Madison's family believes this terrible accident is something that could happen to anyone.
But now their mission is to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
"This is such a tragedy that doesn’t need to happen to anyone else. And we want something good to come out of this as awareness of not using your cell phone in the bathroom as it is plugged in and charging," O'Guinn said.
The post about Coe on Facebook continues to be shared, opening up many eyes to the power of electricity, and the danger of plugging in any electrical appliance near water.
"It’s overwhelming to realize that there are people that we don’t even know and we’ll probably never even meet that have taken this message and shared it to protect another child or even an adult. We don’t want to lose anybody," O'Guinn said.
So as Madison’s family mourns her loss, they have hope that this message will resonate with anyone who hears it.
It’s the positivity she always carried with her, continuing to make a difference in the world.
"We need to be aware. We need to teach our children that electricity and water do not mix," O'Guinn said. "She’s just going to be greatly missed by all of us. She has a special place in my heart."
There will be a memorial service for Madison Coe on Saturday, July 15th, at 2:00 p.m. at Kings Ridge Church of Christ in Lubbock. The address is 4201 98th Street.
Madison's mother posted details for a memorial scheduled for Saturday:
"On Saturday, July 15th at 6:30 p.m. the family and friends of Madison Coe will be having a balloon/candlelight memorial at Terra Vista Middle School. Everyone is invited to celebrate the memory of an amazing young lady. She made such an impact on so many people! We will be releasing orange balloons and sharing memories."
It is unfortunate that this lovely teenage girl died by electrocution in her bathtub. We all know that "shit happens" and our lives can be snapped at any time by a number of events: traffic accidents, fires, poisoning, fall, heart attack, gun shot wounds, electrocutions, etc., etc. However, it is upon any and each one of us not to force these unfortunate events upon us. Why would anyone have an electric device next to a water source? Was the bathroom equipped with GFCI device(s)? In any event, she is dead and hopefully the living will learn from this tragedy: no electric devices next to water source! PLEASE!
Madison Coe is not the first person to be electrocuted to death by chargers coming into contact with water. Here is another recent case.
Coroner warning after man electrocuted in bath charging iPhone
Tributes paid to Richard Bull, whose death was ruled accidental after he was killed when his phone fell into the water
An iPhone plugged in and charging. Dr Sean Cummings, the coroner, said he would send a report to Apple to warn of the dangers of charging a device and using it in the bath. Photograph: CatLane/Getty Images
Friday 17 March 2017
A man died after being electrocuted while charging his phone in the bath, an inquest has heard.
The death of Richard Bull, 32, which occurred when the iPhone fell into the water, was accidental, the coroner ruled. Dr Sean Cummings said he would also send a report to the phone’s manufacturer, Apple, to warn about the dangers.
“These seem like innocuous devices, but they can be as dangerous as a hairdryer in a bathroom. They should attach warnings,” he told the inquest. “This was a tragic accident and I have no reason to believe at all that there anything other than it being completely accidental.”
Friends at the amateur rugby club where Bull played said he would be “greatly missed” and offered their commiserations to his family. His teammate, Nick Greenhalgh, said: “He was a pleasure to play both against and with. He would play in any position without giving it a second thought. He stepped back from nothing and left everything on the pitch for whichever side he was playing for.”
Bull’s mother, Carole, said: “I have worried that so many people and especially teenagers, that can’t be separated from their phones, don’t know how dangerous it is.”
His brother Andrew said: “When you are younger you are taught about electricity and the bath, but you don’t think about this. I still find it hard to believe that between the charger plug and the phone would be enough electricity to kill someone.”
Bull was found in the bath by his wife Tanya. He had been getting ready to go out to meet his father, Anthony Watson, when the accident happened last December. “We were meeting him that morning, to exchange presents and were going for a curry, which he loved,” Watson told the inquest.
“And the next day he was going to stay with his brother.” Bull’s mother added that her son was “in a happy disposition”.
The coroner said that the postmortem had revealed burns on Bull’s right arm and right hand. Police told the inquest at West London coroner’s court that an extension lead was found running from the hallway into the bathroom.
According to Sheila Merrill, the public health adviser to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, this sort of incident is rare. Nevertheless, she said, “people need to be aware of taking an electrical appliance into the bathroom”.
She told the BBC: “The advice has always been given with regard to hairdryers and radios – not to use in the bathroom.
“If you have got any appliance attached to the mains electricity circuit you have to be aware there is a danger there. You’re risking death. Electricity and water don’t mix, but particularly with phones, people don’t probably always think about it. It’s not advisable to use them while they’re plugged in, particularly in a bathroom situation.”
Common Sources of Hazard
As we saw earlier, skin and body resistance has a lot to do with the relative hazard of electric circuits. The higher the body’s resistance, the less likely harmful current will result from any given amount of voltage. Conversely, the lower the body’s resistance, the more likely for injury to occur from the application of a voltage.
The easiest way to decrease skin resistance is to get it wet. Therefore, touching electrical devices with wet hands, wet feet, or especially in a sweaty condition (salt water is a much better conductor of electricity than fresh water) is dangerous. In the household, the bathroom is one of the more likely places where wet people may contact electrical appliances, and so shock hazard is a definite threat there. Good bathroom design will locate power receptacles away from bathtubs, showers, and sinks to discourage the use of appliances nearby. Telephones that plug into a wall socket are also sources of hazardous voltage (the open circuit voltage is 48 volts DC, and the ringing signal is 150 volts AC—remember that any voltage over 30 is considered potentially dangerous!). Appliances such as telephones and radios should never, ever be used while sitting in a bathtub. Even battery-powered devices should be avoided. Some battery-operated devices employ voltage-increasing circuitry capable of generating lethal potentials.
Swimming pools are another source of trouble, since people often operate radios and other powered appliances nearby. The National Electrical Code requires that special shock-detecting receptacles called Ground-Fault Current Interrupting (GFI or GFCI) be installed in wet and outdoor areas to help prevent shock incidents. More on these devices in a later section of this chapter. These special devices have no doubt saved many lives, but they can be no substitute for common sense and diligent precaution. As with firearms, the best “safety” is an informed and conscientious operator.
Extension cords, so commonly used at home and in industry, are also sources of potential hazard. All cords should be regularly inspected for abrasion or cracking of insulation, and repaired immediately. One sure method of removing a damaged cord from service is to unplug it from the receptacle, then cut off that plug (the “male” plug) with a pair of side-cutting pliers to ensure that no one can use it until it is fixed. This is important on jobsites, where many people share the same equipment, and not all people there may be aware of the hazards.
Any power tool showing evidence of electrical problems should be immediately serviced as well. I’ve heard several horror stories of people who continue to work with hand tools that periodically shock them. Remember, electricity can kill, and the death it brings can be gruesome. Like extension cords, a bad power tool can be removed from service by unplugging it and cutting off the plug at the end of the cord.
Downed power lines are an obvious source of electric shock hazard and should be avoided at all costs. The voltages present between power lines or between a power line and earth ground are typically very high (2400 volts being one of the lowest voltages used in residential distribution systems). If a power line is broken and the metal conductor falls to the ground, the immediate result will usually be a tremendous amount of arcing (sparks produced), often enough to dislodge chunks of concrete or asphalt from the road surface, and reports rivaling that of a rifle or shotgun. To come into direct contact with a downed power line is almost sure to cause death, but other hazards exist which are not so obvious.
When a line touches the ground, current travels between that downed conductor and the nearest grounding point in the system, thus establishing a circuit:
The earth, being a conductor (if only a poor one), will conduct current between the downed line and the nearest system ground point, which will be some kind of conductor buried in the ground for good contact. Being that the earth is a much poorer conductor of electricity than the metal cables strung along the power poles, there will be substantial voltage dropped between the point of cable contact with the ground and the grounding conductor, and little voltage dropped along the length of the cabling (the following figures are very approximate):
If the distance between the two ground contact points (the downed cable and the system ground) is small, there will be substantial voltage dropped along short distances between the two points. Therefore, a person standing on the ground between those two points will be in danger of receiving an electric shock by intercepting a voltage between their two feet!
Again, these voltage figures are very approximate, but they serve to illustrate a potential hazard: that a person can become a victim of electric shock from a downed power line without even coming into contact with that line!
One practical precaution a person could take if they see a power line falling towards the ground is to only contact the ground at one point, either by running away (when you run, only one foot contacts the ground at any given time), or if there’s nowhere to run, by standing on one foot. Obviously, if there’s somewhere safer to run, running is the best option. By eliminating two points of contact with the ground, there will be no chance of applying deadly voltage across the body through both legs.
- Wet conditions increase risk of electric shock by lowering skin resistance.
- Immediately replace worn or damaged extension cords and power tools. You can prevent innocent use of a bad cord or tool by cutting the male plug off the cord (while its unplugged from the receptacle, of course).
- Power lines are very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. If you see a line about to hit the ground, stand on one foot or run (only one foot contacting the ground) to prevent shock from voltage dropped across the ground between the line and the system ground point.