child playing with electricity, kids safety concept

Electrical Childproofing of Your Home

When a new baby comes into the house, most modern parents know it’s time to start baby proofing the old homestead. In go drawer locks, door knob covers and bumpers on sharp furniture corners.

These are all important steps, but when it comes to baby proofing, the most dangerous areas in your home usually involve appliances and power, especially electrical power. For example, a hot stove requires extra special attentiveness from parents until it is off and cools down to protect children from burns.

Unfortunately, when it comes to electrical hazards, they are more constant. You don’t turn off the power in your home and the chance of electrical shock never cools down.

Electrical childproofing has to be more constant. Children are always at risk of sticking their fingers in electrical outlets or pulling down lamps and appliances by their cords.

So with that in mind, here’s some tips for childproofing your home to avoid electrical hazards.

Electrical outlets

Ever take a good look at your electrical outlets? Or more precisely, an imaginative look? It doesn’t take much to see them as little faces in the wall.

For small children, that seems to be a constant draw and babies love outlets. That includes sometimes trying to “feed” the little faces by sticking something in them. If that something is metal, it can lead to disaster.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 2,400 children suffer from severe shock and burns caused by items being poked into the slots of electrical receptacles. And approximately 12 children will die from these injuries each year.

If your home was built before 2008, you probably have standard outlets with nothing to prevent children from sticking objects into them. If your home was built later, you should have tamper resistant outlets.

The slots in tamper resistant receptacles have small pieces of plastic covering them.  They only move when both slots feel pressure, such as when you are plugging something in. That prevents children from pushing an object into one slot. All tamper resistant receptacles have TR stamped on them.

Even if you don’t have a baby in the house it can be a good idea to replace outlets with tamper resistant receptacles for general safety. We can help you determine the best course of action for you.

However, there are products that can help in the meantime.

Electrical safety caps are simply plastic covers that plug into empty outlets. You will have to determine the type of outlet you have—standard or decora—when buying them. Standard receptacles usually attach to the outlet with a screw, while decora outlets snap on.

Most outlet covers have flat faces that children shouldn’t be able to grasp. The one drawback to outlet covers is that if you regularly use the outlet, you’ll have to remove the safety cover to use the outlet and then remember to plug it back in. Otherwise, they are a cheap and effective protection device.

Safe Plate Electrical Outlet Covers are another tool that can effectively protect children from shock. Remove your old outlet cover and replace it with a baby safe one. The outlet itself has a spring loaded plastic cover that prevents your child from poking anything inside of the outlet.

To plug something in, you have to use the plug to slide the safety cover into the correct position, again a task most small children shouldn’t be able to master. The advantage of the plates is that once installed, you can forget about them.

The other major problem in baby proofing a home is that children love to yank on power cords. One strategy is to place furniture or an obstacle in front of outlets with cords. Be careful though, as small children can squeeze into tight spots.

Moving furniture might not always be practical. That’s when a baby safety outlet cover comes in handy.  These plastic box-like covers will make it difficult for your child to unplug a cord. The plugs are protected with the cord cinched to the side so that it can’t be pulled out.

These types of covers are also made to protect power strips.

Here’s some other tips for baby proofing electrical cords from

Duct tape cords to a wall or the floor.

Shorten any cords that are attached to appliances and are obviously just too long.

Don’t leave cords hanging over the edge of a counter or table, your curious baby will pull these.

Cover up any outlets that do not have a plug inside them, whether its wall outlet, extension cord or power strip.

Do you live in Gloucester County and need help with an electrical project at your home? Call us at 856.769.3932.