Every few months, there's another tragic news story about a fatal house fire, car accident or freak electrocution caused by an everyday gadget. Usually the victim was doing something stupid - but that doesn't mean it can't happen to you too. Thankfully, you can dramatically decrease the odds of death and injury by following these eight simple rules.
Avoid cheap, 'no name' gadgets and chargers
Australia has strict consumer safety laws when it comes to electronics. Our government is quick to slap bans on anything found to be dangerous. Unfortunately, other parts of the world are far less stringent. If you're looking to save money on a gadget or cable, stick to discounts from big brands and local suppliers. Don't buy online from Chinese manufacturers you've never heard of. The risk isn't worth it.
Don't use your phone while walking
We get it. 21st century living has conditioned you to need constant stimulation - even while walking. We don't need to explain how profoundly dumb this is. You're trying to traverse your environment with blinkers on, often while goddamn busses are whizzing about. STAHP!
Don't leave charging gadgets unattended
Nobody can watch a charging gadget like a hawk - but leaving it completely unattended for hours on end isn't advisable either. This goes doubly when you're leaving the house. (While you won't get killed in this scenario, your home and pets might.)
Don't take your gadgets to bed
Aside from the long-term health issues this can cause, you are putting yourself in immediate danger if your phone catches fire. A smoke alarm isn't much use when your blankets are already an inferno.
If your gadget isn't waterproof, don't use it in the bath
Most smartphones and tablets are designed to remain safe in the event of accidental water damage - but unfortunately, freak accidents still happen. It goes without saying that you should never, ever use a gadget that's charging while in the bath.
Don't text and drive
If you do this regularly, you absolutely deserve the Darwin Award with your name on it. But as innocent bystanders could also be killed, we must advise you to stop. If you need to do something important on your phone PULL OVER AND TURN OFF YOUR ENGINE. It really isn't that hard.
Don't use damaged chargers
If your charger is showing signs of wear and tear, replace it immediately. Don't put it off.
Pay attention to safety recalls
The ACCC's Product Safety Australia website keeps consumers constantly informed about products that may cause serious injury and death. Whenever a safety recall is issued, you'll hear about it here first. Stay informed and you'll be safer for it.