Do you have a toddler that’s well into their crawling stage and is learning to explore around the house?
When babies reach a certain age, they become more curious and start poking their nose (and wee little fingers) into every nook and cranny in almost every room of the house. One of their favorite things to look at and touch, are electrical outlets and electrical cords.
We have different cords scattered around our house for different purposes. They plug our lights, our appliances. They power our TV and other forms of entertainment, and some of them are for practical items, like for the toaster and microwave in the kitchen. Let’s face it–electrical cords are everywhere in the house.
With these long cords around the house, your baby is more likely to do any of the following:
- Trip over cords
- Yank them out of electrical outlets
- Chew on the cord
- Wrap the cord around their neck (choking hazard)
- Play with damaged cords
- Get electrical burns
Here are some baby proofing safety measures for electrical cords that you can take to ensure that your child will be safe as they grow:
1. Cover up exposed outlets
As your baby starts exploring around the house, they will naturally be curious about outlets and cords.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your toddler won’t poke their fingers into an electrical outlet or pull on an exposed cord, is by rearranging your furniture.
Go through your home and check for exposed outlets. If you can, place furniture in front of them as a barrier.
Just make sure the plug isn’t crammed in between the furniture and the wall, but keep a safe distance between them. Allow at least a few inches of space between your furniture and your walls.
2. Get a cord cover or a cord shortener
If your furniture is pretty much set where it is and you can’t find things to place in front of electrical outlets to create a barrier, you can get a cord cover or a cord shortener.
A cord cover enables you to run cords along your baseboards or walls without exposing them, and it acts as a protective layer so your cords won’t be pulled, chewed on, or yanked. Check out this electric cord cover by A+Electric.
A cord shortener (like this Safety 1st Outlet Cover and Cord Shortener), on the other hand, is fixed on the actual power outlet, and has a space big enough for you to store the excess of a long cord, and secures it from being pulled or plugged out of wall. This keeps your child from accessing it, and prevents the tugging and pulling of the cord.
3. Use duct cord covers
Sometimes, you have no choice but to leave a cord lying on the floor. If you can tape them to the wall or cover them up with carpets, that would be good, so your kid doesn’t trip over them or pull them up.
You can also use duct cord covers, which is a safe way to cover cords that run along the floor, but also on your countertops. They do a good job of concealing cords while creating a smooth, trip-free surface. A lot of them also come with adhesive tape, so they can be applied to any flooring surface.
4. Wrap cords together
There are several different ways you can wrap cords together.
You can use tape or plastic, but one of the better and more stylish ways is to use a cord or cable sleeve.
They are much harder to remove, and if applied correctly, do not pose as a potential choking hazard, unlike other means.
This is especially useful for your home office or behind your TV, computer, stereo, or other cable sites where a lot of small cables are usually connected and exposed.
They come in different sizes and materials but all accomplish the same purpose.
5. Other ways to reinforce electrical safety in your home
Here are some general advice on how to improve the electrical safety in yoru home, simply changing a few habits and practices.
5.1 Don’t plug cords into electrical sockets while your kids are watching
Let’s face it–kids are naturally curious.
If they see adults doing something they think is interesting, they’ll want to try it too.
When you plug a cord into a socket, your child will naturally want to copy you or find out what’s in the electrical outlet.
If you can, avoid plugging cords to electrical sockets while in their sight, so they don’t try to copy whatever you are doing.
5.2 Avoid putting their toys and other fun objects near their outlet.
Kids are drawn to colorful items.
Don’t put those (as well as their toys) beside electrical outlets.
That way, they won’t approach the area where the outlet is, and therefore (fingers crossed!) they won’t spot the outlet either.
5.3 Avoid leaving appliances and the like plugged in when not in use.
Unplug vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, clothes irons, curling hair irons, and the likes when not in use (and keep them out of reach of children too!).
That way, kids won’t get curious and accidentally turn them on.
5.4 Set rules and teach them proper and safe use of electric appliances
The older your children get, the more they will understand what they can touch and what they must leave alone.
Set rules about turning things on or plugging things in. Teach them how to properly plug a cord into an outlet so that they can do it themselves in a safe way.
Explain to them why there is a need to be careful, but do so in a way that they will learn and understand.
Until the time comes that you deem them old enough to plug things responsibly, it would be good to establish early on that your child can go to you when they need help plugging things in or turning things on.
If you apply the various tips and techniques for baby proofing your cords at home, you don’t need to worry about your kids getting tangled, pulling out plugs, or touching the electrical cords.
It might require a few safety measures, but it is very well worth it for every parent that wants to protect their child and provide a safe space and learning environment for them to grow up in.