14-year-old girl electrocuted while using cell phone in bathtub

14-year-old girl electrocuted while using cell phone in bathtub

A 14 year-old Texas girl is dead after being electrocuted while using her cell phone in the bathtub.

Police officials released the final text message sent by Madison Coe, who was visiting her father’s New Mexico home at the time of the incident. The image reveals her phone’s charger is plugged into an extension cord laying on top of a towel.

The cord was plugged into a non-grounded bathroom wall outlet with no circuit-interrupting safety mechanism, according to a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Lovington Police Department.

Officials say while Coe – who died Sunday, July 9 – did take care to keep the connection of the cords dry, it is likely she was unaware that the extension cord was fraying. Evidence indicates she touched the frayed extension cord while she was in the bathtub.

“There was a burn mark on her hand, the hand that would have grabbed the phone,” Madison’s grandmother, Donna O’Guinn, told KCBD-TV. “And that was just very obvious that that’s what had happened.”

Coe’s parents agreed to release the photo to raise awareness of the dangers posed by electricity use in and around water.

“Do not bring any personal electronics – including hairdryers, cell phones, radios and other devices – that are plugged into an outlet or have a significant source of power near the bathtub, whirlpool or hot tub due to the risk of electrocution,” says Dr. Stephen Crouch, emergency medicine physician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill.

This is an especially important message for teenagers, 50 percent of whom feel addicted to their smart phones, according to a poll conducted for Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on helping children, parents, teachers and policymakers negotiate media and technology.

Dr. Charles Nozicka, an emergency medicine physician at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., warns that these types of accidents also occur on boats and with electrical equipment near pools, docks and marinas. He sums up the takeaway message succinctly: “Water and electricity don’t mix!”

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One Comment

  1. Shocktreatment July 18, 2017 at 12:04 pm · Reply

    Sooo, an accurate headline like “child electrocuted while handling damaged extension cord” wouldn’t have drawn enough clicks?
    Nobody thought to add “damaged extension cords should NEVER be used”, much less maybe a brief primer on safe extension cord use?

About the Author

Adam Mesirow
Adam Mesirow

Adam Mesirow, health enews managing editor, is manager of public affairs at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove. A media relations specialist with more than seven years’ experience securing high-profile media placements, he loves to tell a good story. Adam earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. He lives in Chicago and enjoys playing sports, reading TIME magazine and a little nonsense now and then.