When your phone or laptop has 1% battery left, the sight of an electric outlet can be incredibly satisfying; however, when there’s a baby crawling around your living room, that same outlet becomes a major source of dread.
Think about it from the point of view of a baby or toddler: an outlet looks like a shocked face (no pun intended), which naturally draws their attention towards it. Unfortunately, rather than just looking at it and moving on, the next step is often moving towards it and trying to place fingers or toys inside.
Electricity can cause very serious injuries, which is why it’s so important to properly secure your outlets. Thankfully, it’s very simple and inexpensive to do so!
What Makes An Outlet Childproof?
Keeping your child safe from outlets doesn’t require a large-scale renovation or rewiring. All you need to do is cover up the plugs with something difficult for a child to remove, so they aren’t able to stick anything inside the outlet. There are a number of products out there that will accomplish this, most of which are inexpensive and easy to install yourself.
WARNING: As a precaution, always shut off the power supply to the outlet you’re working on to prevent injury.
Baby-Proof Outlet Options
You may already have a childproof outlet in your home and not even realize it. Tamper-resistant receptacles have two plastic covers inside each plug. In order for something to be plugged in, both plastic pieces need to be pushed at the same time (much like a plug would do); otherwise, they will remain shut. This is often enough to prevent a young one from being able to do any damage.
If you’re unsure whether you have a tamper resistant outlet, they will also usually have the letters “TR” on them as well.
Although enclosures aren’t the most attractive solution, they are the most effective option for solving another problem: what happens if your child unplugs an appliance, leaving the outlet exposed? This isn’t a big concern for infants, but for toddlers that have the strength to unplug an appliance, enclosures may be your best bet for outlets that can’t be covered by furniture.
Slide covers are fairly simple to use but require just enough technique to give parents peace of mind. Just be sure not to plug or unplug appliances while your child is watching so they learn the sliding technique too.
Caps are the simplest, cheapest and, for some, the most effective childproofing solution. When shopping around, look for ones that provide a tight fit. If it’s difficult for you to remove, then your child will be much less likely to pry it off.
Don’t forget that power strips are just as vulnerable as your outlets, so you’ll need to secure those as well. You can use caps to plug each outlet in your existing power strip or buy ones with built-in enclosures that will keep children out, as well as prevent them from unplugging any appliances.
If you need any help with your home’s electricity, find an electrician in your area today!