Apple told to warn against charging phone in bath after man’s electrocution

iphone charging accident 2
Poravute/123RF
Some folks simply can’t resist taking their smartphone into the bathtub to check their social media feeds or play games, and occasional reports of fatal accidents suggest a small percentage may be going one step further and also charging their device while in the tub.

One such person, 32-year-old Richard Bull of London, died on December 11 from an electric shock he received when his iPhone charger touched the water of the bath he was in. The coroner examining the case, Dr. Sean Cummings, last week ruled the death as accidental, but said he intended to ask Apple to take steps to help prevent further such incidents.

Cummings said that while smartphones “seem like innocuous devices … they can be as dangerous as a hairdryer in a bathroom,” adding that handset makers “should attach warnings” to the devices to warn of the risks.

The postmortem into the fatal accident, which happened in December 2016, revealed burns on the right arm and right hand of 32-year-old Bull, the coroner said. His wife had called for help but he was already dead when first responders arrived at their London home. Police who investigated the scene said they found an extension cord running between the hallway and the bathroom.

Sheila Merrill of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents told the BBC that while such incidents are rare, “people need to be aware of taking an electrical appliance into the bathroom.”

“If you have got any appliance attached to the mains electricity circuit, you have to be aware there is a danger there,” Merrill said. “Electricity and water don’t mix, but particularly with phones, people don’t … always think about it. It’s not advisable to use them while they’re plugged in, particularly in a bathroom situation.”

Bull’s mother, Carole, told The Sun, “I worry so many people, and especially teenagers who can’t be separated from their phones, don’t know how dangerous it is.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Smart Home

Which Instant Pot is best? Whether cooking for 1 or 9, here are the best options

Instant Pots are perfect home cooks who love versatility in the kitchen, and for those who like to prepare quick and easy meals. Check out our picks for the best Instant Pots.
Mobile

Apple’s new iPads are hardly new at all. Don’t waste your money

It has taken Apple four years to get around to updating the iPad Mini line, but the new iPad Mini is virtually identical to its predecessor. It’s joined by a confusing iPad Air with no obvious target audience. Is Apple just trying to sell…
Mobile

iPad Air vs. iPad Mini: Which new tablet from Apple is best for you?

Apple has unveiled two new iPad models, including a new iPad Air and a new iPad Mini. Both devices have a lot to offer. But which iPad is right for your needs? We put the iPad Air and iPad Mini to the test to find out.
Mobile

Even older Apple Watches could be effective at spotting heart conditions

The Apple Watch Series 4 is known for detecting heart conditions like atrial fibrillation thanks to having an electrocardiograph feature. It turns out that older Apple Watches could be effective at tracking AFib, too.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…
Mobile

The Black Shark 2’s Ludicrous Mode promises the smoothest mobile gaming

Xiaomi-backed Black Shark has a follow-up to last year's Black Shark gaming phone, complete with high specs and a low price. Here's everything we know about the Black Shark 2 gaming phone.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.
Deals

Amazon drops price on Apple Watch Series 4 with a rare deal

Since Apple first unveiled the Series 4, the price for one has pretty much held fast. This has finally started to change with a nice little $15 discount on Amazon. If you've been wanting the newest Apple Watch, now is a great time.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Mobile

Google's midrange Pixels might be called the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
Gaming

Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs brings 3D demolition into your living room

Angry Birds is releasing its next entry in the spring of 2019 - with a new spin. Bringing 3D environments and destruction, Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs uses augmented reality to add a new dimension to a classic series.