Toddler May Have Been Burned by USB cable

Trinity Anderson

On January 4, in Denver, Co, Trinity Anderson was found by her mother, lying limp on the floor next to her chair. There was a USB cable lying next to her which was plugged into her mother’s iPod (or laptop, depending on which report you read). Burnt flesh was found on the prongs of the USB cable and she was hospitalized with third-degree burns on her tongue, palate and lip. She remains hospitalized and has had a traceotomy and administered sedatives and paralytics to keep her still and quiet while she recovers.

A technician spent the day friday at the infant’s home trying to determine what actually happened. A USB cable typically doesn’t carry more than 5 volts of power, far too low to do any damage (which you would know if you’ve ever put your tongue on a 9-volt battery). Apple’s USB cables can sometimes carry a bit more, but it’s not usually considered life-threatening. Life threatening voltage is usually considered over 50 volts.

It seems to me that something more than was going on here than a child putting a USB cable in her mouth. Especially when the other end was attached to an iPod (and not the outlet). Since nobody saw what happened, we may never know exactly what the child was doing when she was burned.

However, this story is a good reminder to parents to be careful about seemingly harmless cables and cords. With all the consumer electronics in most homes today, the amount of cables has expanded dramatically. Many are often left plugged into the wall when rechargeable electronics are in use. While they may seem harmless (and may be harmless) parents should consider taking some precautions with small children to be sure they are safe.

I found these USB Protective Covers on Amazon. While they are certainly not fool proof, and you would still want to keep the cables out of reach, so children don’t swallow the covers, they would still provide a small amount of protection if the end of a USB cable should find its way into a young mouth. They also protect the connectors from dust.

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