Toddler in Critical Condition After iPod Cable Shock

patrickdunn

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 16, 2009
981
83
St. Louis, MO
http://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_14143097

A Longmont toddler remains sedated and with an uncertain future at Children's Hospital in Aurora after she apparently was shocked by an iPod USB cable connected to a laptop.

Trinity Anderson was playing at the foot of a recliner on Monday while her mother, Rhianna Anderson, sat in the chair and used her laptop, the girl's grandfather Jeffrey Anderson said Thursday.

When Trinity didn't poke her head out from behind the recliner as she expected, Rhianna Anderson looked down and saw her 16-month-old daughter lying face down. When she lifted the girl up, her body was limp. Next to her was one end of the USB cable. The other end was attached to the laptop, which was plugged in.

The family believes Trinity placed the USB cable in her mouth. There are pieces of burnt flesh in the prongs of the cable.

Rhianna Anderson, who is an EMT and studying to be a nurse, rushed her daughter to Longmont United Hospital, just one block away. Within an hour, the little girl was on her way to Children's Hospital.

Jeffrey Anderson said the family decided to go public with the story, even though talking about it is painful, because they had no idea a USB cable -- which typically carries just 5 volts -- could be so dangerous, and they want other families to know.

"With the number of people who have these, with the number of doctors and nurses who say they've never seen anything like this, we felt we had to let people know," he said.

Trinity remains at Children's Hospital with third-degree burns on her tongue, palate and lips. She is on sedatives and paralyzing drugs to prevent her from moving and disturbing her breathing tube, Jeffrey Anderson said. She needs the tube because her tongue is so swollen it blocks her airway.

Anderson said he feels helpless as he watches his granddaughter in her hospital bed.

"I want to make it better, and there's nothing I can do," he said.

Anderson said doctors plan to allow Trinity to regain consciousness in the next day or two to assess how much neurological damage occurred. The little girl wasn't breathing for several minutes, and her heart nearly stopped beating.

Anderson said doctors expect Trinity to recover from her burns, though she may have lasting cosmetic damage. Right now, the family's main concern is that the happy, laughing little girl does not suffer serious brain damage, and they hope she is young enough that she can recover any lost capabilities.

"As long as she comes back to us, that's what matters," Jeffrey Anderson said.

A spokesman for Apple said he couldn't comment on the situation or what hazard USB cables might pose.

Anderson said the family is enlisting the help of an electrical engineer to figure out whether the device malfunctioned or had some flaw.

Anderson said he hopes other families will keep track of all wires and cables, but he also knows it's hard to keep track of kids at all times.

"I don't know how you could predict everything that could happen to a child," he said. "You don't know what might be attractive to a child."

Anderson said he believes his granddaughter is alive at all because of his daughter's EMT training and because she lived so close to the hospital. He also had nothing but praise for the treatment provided by the doctors and nurses at Longmont United and Children's Hospital.

"If any one of those links had been missing, she might not be with us," he said.
 

MacVixen

macrumors 6502
Jan 26, 2009
385
0
Santa Cruz, CA
I'm curious as well.
I'm wondering if the child was perhaps sucking on the USB Cable, or if the cord were initally damaged in some way.

Scary stuff. I constantly have to watch my 2 year old around the laptop as he does tend to want to pull the cords out and play with them. Poor little girl. Hope she is on the mend soon.
 

localoid

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2007
2,428
1,724
America's Third World
This shouldn't be possible in the real world from a 5v source at < milliamp. I think they need to look for the 120v extension cord the kid was sucking on.
 

Sdashiki

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2005
3,512
8
Behind the lens
Bringing to light something like "OMFG a USB cable killed my child!" is not going to bring out the right response or research on this issue.

Hyperbole begets anything rational...and as has been pointed out, 5V shouldnt do this. Something else is at fault here, its not just a USB cable issue.
 

akutad

macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2008
150
0
London, Ontario, Canada
This shouldn't be possible in the real world from a 5v source at < milliamp. I think they need to look for the 120v extension cord the kid was sucking on.
Volts isn't what does the damage, it's the amps. GFI's (ground fault interrupter) In kitchens and baths are designed to trip at 0.005 of an amp. USB cable has enough power to run a fan, light or HD.
 

akutad

macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2008
150
0
London, Ontario, Canada
USB 2.0 ports channel 500 milliamps. As I mentioned earlier GFI's trip at five onethousanth of an amp. Below is a chart that would give greater understanding of amperes dangers.



As shown in the chart, shock is relatively more severe as the current rises. For currents above 10 milliamps, muscular contractions are so strong that the victim cannot let go of the wire that is shocking him. At values as low as 20 milliamps, breathing becomes labored, finally ceasing completely even at values below 75 milliamps.
As the current approaches 100 milliamps, ventricular fibrillation of the heart occurs - an uncoordinated twitching of the walls of the heart's ventricles which results in death.

Above 200 milliamps, the muscular contractions are so severe that the heart is forcibly clamped during the shock. This clamping protects the heart from going into ventricular fibrillation, and the victim's chances for survival are good.
 

localoid

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2007
2,428
1,724
America's Third World
Volts isn't what does the damage, it's the amps. GFI's (ground fault interrupter) In kitchens and baths are designed to trip at 0.005 of an amp. USB cable has enough power to run a fan, light or HD.
The body isn't made of solid copper. The resistance whatever part of the body, even something as conductive as a wet tongue, should drop the current down considerably... The ol' 9-volt battery on the tongue, etc.

See: Ohm's Law (again!)

The principle that "current kills" is essentially correct. It is electric current that burns tissue, freezes muscles, and fibrillates hearts. However, electric current doesn't just occur on its own: there must be voltage available to motivate electrons to flow through a victim. A person's body also presents resistance to current, which must be taken into account.
 

jbernie

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2005
927
11
Denver, CO
This one is certainly very interesting... personally I wouldn't think it would be possible... but that being said... it isnt every day we go sucking on connected USB cables so.... :)

In our household we have seen a few iPod USB cables have the protective coating break where the cable and the plastic bits at either end join, even though there the extra bits there to (help) prevent it. No pets and no kids under 12 in the house though so it is of less concern.
 

Counterfit

macrumors G3
Aug 20, 2003
8,202
0
sitting on your shoulder
Bringing to light something like "OMFG a USB cable killed my child!" is not going to bring out the right response or research on this issue.

Hyperbole begets anything rational...and as has been pointed out, 5V shouldnt do this. Something else is at fault here, its not just a USB cable issue.
That's probably why:
Anderson said the family is enlisting the help of an electrical engineer to figure out whether the device malfunctioned or had some flaw.
 

scorpio2007

macrumors newbie
Jan 6, 2011
3
0
Do you guys know how landed into this forum today? I just google to see if iPhone / USB cable can cause electric shock. Thats why I am here.

5 minutes ago, i received a shock from my iPhone connected to my iMac with the USB cable. It is unbelievable, but true. For the past few days, I have been feeling static on my iMac and today even when the iMac was off, the USB cable was receiving the power. I am not sure about the voltage though.

I quickly grabbed a tester and touched the iPhone surface and believe me it is glowing.

I shutdown everything, checked the cable and reconnected everything. Now things seems to be ok, but I am scared like hell. :eek:

It seems I have to call the service guy ASAP. But I will be looking like a stupid unable to reproduce this in front of him.
 

chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,434
1,404
Isla Nublar
Is this even possible? Does it carry enough electricity?
No, it doesn't. Something smells fishy about this.

I hope the child is OK but I think there is something more to blame here...

You can get electrical current via USB, monitor cables, etc that can shock you but its due to poor electrical grounding in the house. We had that problem where I worked where people got shocked on computer cables and it was due to the grounding in the building.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,604
1,187
Georgia
Do you guys know how landed into this forum today? I just google to see if iPhone / USB cable can cause electric shock. Thats why I am here.

5 minutes ago, i received a shock from my iPhone connected to my iMac with the USB cable. It is unbelievable, but true. For the past few days, I have been feeling static on my iMac and today even when the iMac was off, the USB cable was receiving the power. I am not sure about the voltage though.

I quickly grabbed a tester and touched the iPhone surface and believe me it is glowing.

I shutdown everything, checked the cable and reconnected everything. Now things seems to be ok, but I am scared like hell. :eek:

It seems I have to call the service guy ASAP. But I will be looking like a stupid unable to reproduce this in front of him.
The only charge it could possibly have is static electricity build up which is though it is far more likely you had static electricity build up and the shock was from you to the laptop like with a door knob or wall switch. For it to be over five volts the entire computer would be fried as the DC to DC converter would be setting the 5v line way too high and fry every chip in the laptop nearly instantly that uses 5v.
 

xlii

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2006
1,854
64
Millis, Massachusetts
When you have a young child, you the adult have to be alert to all the dangers. Our homes are filled with them. Kids are curious. It is our responsibility to keep an eye on them and keep them safe.

That said when I was 2.5 years old I stuck a hatpin in my Grandmothers wall outlet and when I was 4 I plugged in the TV with my thumb caught between the two prongs of the plug. Both hurt like h*** but no lasting damage and I just cried it off.

I'm 58 years old but those two moments I remember quite vividly. Nothing like a little electro shock to sharpen ones memory.
 

Flynnstone

macrumors 65816
Feb 25, 2003
1,419
73
Cold beer land
The original post is over a 1.5 years ago.

Also the kid is doing fine.
The problem was a improperly grounded lamp.
Sounds like the lamp was live & the USB via computer gave the path to ground.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,513
3,103
USB 2.0 ports channel 500 milliamps. As I mentioned earlier GFI's trip at five onethousanth of an amp. Below is a chart that would give greater understanding of amperes dangers.

Image

As shown in the chart, shock is relatively more severe as the current rises. For currents above 10 milliamps, muscular contractions are so strong that the victim cannot let go of the wire that is shocking him. At values as low as 20 milliamps, breathing becomes labored, finally ceasing completely even at values below 75 milliamps.
As the current approaches 100 milliamps, ventricular fibrillation of the heart occurs - an uncoordinated twitching of the walls of the heart's ventricles which results in death.

Above 200 milliamps, the muscular contractions are so severe that the heart is forcibly clamped during the shock. This clamping protects the heart from going into ventricular fibrillation, and the victim's chances for survival are good.
You are missing a critical bit of physics here: Electrical resistance of the body. The electrical resistance is up to 100,000 Ohm; down to 1,000 Ohm for very wet skin. 5 Volt at 1,000 Ohm will produce a current of 5 milli ampere. That's the maximum that you can expect. The 500 mA that USB 2.0 supports will only happen with an electrical resistance of 10 Ohm or less.
 

scorpio2007

macrumors newbie
Jan 6, 2011
3
0
The only charge it could possibly have is static electricity build up which is though it is far more likely you had static electricity build up and the shock was from you to the laptop like with a door knob or wall switch. For it to be over five volts the entire computer would be fried as the DC to DC converter would be setting the 5v line way too high and fry every chip in the laptop nearly instantly that uses 5v.
I wrote a detailed post after discussing with Apple support folks here:

If I am the one, who built the static, will it let the tester glow when I touched the iPhone's metal surface?
 

localoid

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2007
2,428
1,724
America's Third World
I wrote a detailed post after discussing with Apple support folks here:

If I am the one, who built the static, will it let the tester glow when I touched the iPhone's metal surface?
Is this "tester that glows" that you're using a continuity tester? If so, the only thing a continuity tester indicates is if an electrical path exists between two points. Where/what exactly are the two points that you're "testing" located?