you begin to childproof,
one of the first items you'll want to address is electrical
safety. Outlets, wires and cords are within easy reach of your crawling baby
so it’s wise to install electrical
safety items before your child
becomes mobile. This will help prevent injuries and give you time to become
accustomed to using them regularly. Products that help guard against the dangers
of electricity differ with respect to function, style, degree of protection and
ease of use.
AND STYLES OF
examine the areas where electrical outlets and appliances are located to select
the safest and most appropriate type for each location. When it comes to
electrical wires and cords, it's best to get them out of the way, which may
mean enclosing them inside specially
designed cases or covers, or moving appliances to eliminate the hazard.
are some questions that may help you select the most appropriate, safest and
most convenient products to fit your needs and lifestyle.
often will plugs be used in each outlet?
certain outlets be used frequently, such as for vacuuming?
any outlets rarely or perhaps never used?
any appliances plugged into the same outlet all the time?
and TVs are good examples.
any outlets located near water?
example, bathrooms and outdoor outlets should be outfitted with GFCI
(Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter) Outlets that help prevent injury from
electrical shocks when operating appliances near areas where there is water. GFCI
Outlets should be installed by a licensed electrician.
and inexpensive, Outlet
Caps have two prongs which plug into the outlet to block the openings. They
are best suited to block outlets that are not needed since some caps may be very
difficult to remove while others may loosen with use.
Caps are generally inconvenient since they must be removed and replaced each
time an outlet is used. A good solution, but certainly not the safest, they are
easily misplaced, and if one receptacle is covered while the other is being
used, there is always the danger of your child removing the plug and leaving one
of the outlets exposed. If you're going to use them, carefully select Outlet
Caps that are child-safe. Certain styles are specifically designed to
prevent drafts and a small child could choke on them.
offer an inexpensive alternative with more protection than individual Outlet
Caps. They have a strap which attaches to the center screw of the outlet
plate to help prevent misplaced caps. Also, when a plug is removed, the dangling
cap helps remind you to replace it in the outlet.
Outlet Plates replace the original outlet plate. They require a sliding
motion to insert a plug into the outlet. When the plug is removed a cover snaps
automatically block the outlet. Although more expensive than Outlet
Caps, they offer an attractive, convenient and extremely safe solution for
outlets, especially those you'll be using regularly. Another added feature:
older siblings can be taught to use them.
are some considerations:
- Carefully select products
for all your outlets. Some are designed only for three-pronged outlets,
while others are available for two-pronged and Decorator outlets as well.
(Standard, three-pronged, grounded outlets and older-style, two-pronged,
ungrounded outlets attach to the wall with one screw. Decorator outlets
attach with two screws.)
- Some Self-Closing
Outlet Plates have the added feature of a foam backing that also makes
them energy efficient.
Covers attach to the existing outlet plate. They completely enclose the
plugs in the outlets and allow the cords to thread through an opening in the
bottom of the cover. Ideal for appliances plugged in on a permanent basis, they
block access to the plugs and the outlets. An adult must firmly squeeze the side
locking tabs to remove the cover. This style of cover is only available for use
with standard one screw outlets.
plugs from power strips and transformers such as those on baby monitors and
wipe warmers, a larger outlet cover is available. This cover is available for
both standard single screw and Decorator
increasing number of home offices and convenience appliances has brought about
the added use of power strips. A power
cover encloses many types of plugs such as those from computers, answering
machines, kitchen appliances and power tools. You’ll also be able to enclose
most transformers and heavy-duty, three-pronged plugs to keep them out of your
product attaches to the outlet plate and combines a night light along with a
cover for one of the electrical receptacles. The night
light covers the top receptacle and a self-closing cover blocks access to
the bottom receptacle.
cords can be a real nuisance, and a real safety hazard, a variety of
products can be purchased to help you "clean up the clutter." One
option is a plastic
tube that houses a group of wires. This is ideal for the TV, VCR and speaker
wires. Another option is a product which encloses wires and then mounts with
double-sided adhesive onto baseboards, walls or ceilings. Couplings and elbows
allow you to conceal cords around corners. This
product also works well for speaker wires, and is ideal for lamp wires and
TO LOOK FOR WHEN
Sturdy, reliable construction and
proper fit. Select products which are well-made and durable. Look for a
snug, secure fit for products that will be removed and replaced continually, and
heavy-duty construction so they'll stand up to your child's consistent efforts
to remove or open them.
Automatic protection. These
products have an automatic closing and are considered safer than those which may
be locked manually.
Reliable locking device. If
it's supposed to lock automatically, check for smooth, consistent operation.
Ease of use. Certain styles
are better suited for more frequent use. Others are suitable for limited use.
Products older children can
operate. Consider whether it's important for older siblings to be able to
use the items you select.
Ease of installation. Although
similar in style some products install quickly and easily, while others may
require considerable adjustments.
information given and the products referred to can reduce the likeliness of
injury and are intended to help you provide a safer environment for your child.
The effectiveness of suggested products depends on proper installation and use.
There is no replacement for adult supervision.