Let’s face it: Children get into things they shouldn’t. Whether you’re getting ready for your first child or preparing for little visitors, you need to childproof your home. Since outlets are low to the ground and easy for babies and toddlers to reach, they are a great place to start.
Here are a few tips about how you can childproof outlets that will make the task much simpler.
If you’re trying to cover an empty outlet, you have a variety of childproof options. Essentially, you’ll choose between outlet covers that fill the outlet with a plastic cover or a specially designed wall plate. The first option can be added on top of the outlet. You’ll just need to remove the cover every time you use the plug. Some covers are harder to pull out than others, so you may want to test a few different types before you buy enough for the house. The second option is a specific type of plate. If your home is less than 10 years old, you might already have something installed. If not, you have choices.
Of course, covers that go on empty outlets aren’t convenient for outlets that you use regularly. We go from outlets to cables here. Generally, parenting safety experts suggest minimizing the number and length of cords and cables that are within reach of small children. Electronic cords and cables can be a shock, tripping, or strangling hazard to children. Put furniture in front of outlets powering equipment you keep in permanent use. If you can’t do that, consider getting outlet covers that enclose the outlet and plugs in a plastic box. Homeowners who have power strips can also purchase protective covers in a variety of sizes.
While you’re crawling through your home and looking for dangers at child level, you might as well think about your electrical system in general. As long as the plugs seem to work when you need them, you might think all is good. However, if you have an older home, or if you haven’t had your outlets and wiring and electrical panel inspected for many years, this is an excellent opportunity to get them looked at. Old wiring is a safety risk in itself. If you are already shopping around for new wall plates, you might be better off hiring a BriteBox electrician to inspect everything and safely install new outlets or switches.