Childproofing your entire home takes a lot of time, consideration, and sometimes, money. Not everyone wants or needs to childproof every single centimeter of their home, but there are a few precautions that you should take to dramatically improve the safety of your home.
Locking some of your kitchen cabinets, installing GFCI outlets in your bathrooms and kitchen, and blocking stairs with baby gates are all childproofing must-dos.
Many parents focus a lot of energy on securing unused outlets, which is an essential childproofing task, but what about the outlets that are consistently in use? Our living rooms are full of appliances that we keep plugged in at all times. So, how do you secure your television, game consoles, cable box, and phone chargers, plus all of the cords that come with them?
That jumble of wires spilling out from your entertainment center is unsightly, whether you have children or not, so many of these strategies are great for every home, not just those with young kids. Also, dangling cords create a strangulation risk for children, so it is incredibly important that you hide all electrical wires.
One of the simplest ways to manage wires is to utilize the holes in the back of your TV stand or entertainment center. Thread as many cords as you can through the holes to keep them out of reach of little hands.
Bonus Tip: If your entertainment console does not already have wire holes in the back, you can do a quick DIY project to add them.
If you do not have outlets near your entertainment center, and if you are not willing to rearrange your room to place appliances near outlets, you could hire an electrician to add new outlets behind your TV stand or entertainment center. Keeping outlets and cords out of your child’s sight is one of the best ways to childproof, so sometimes adding new outlets is the easiest solution.
You have several options for bundling cables together, from zip ties to old shoelaces, which makes a considerable difference in cord safety. Individual dangling cords are easier for small hands to hold and pull on than a large bundle of cords.
If you leave your cell phone charger plugged in near your couch or favorite chair, use cable clips with removable sticky backing to hold the excess cord against the back or side of a nearby end table. You can also use cord shorteners to hide the charging cable when you are not using it.
If you can’t hide all of your cables behind your TV stand and can’t afford to have additional outlets added to the room, use rubber cord covers to make them inaccessible. Never run cables under a rug because it will insulate the heat from the cord, which is a fire hazard.
Bonus Tip: Rubber cord covers reduce the chance that you or your children will trip over the cords and harm yourself or your electronics.
In the technology age, power strips enable us to plug in many more of our electronics, while also protecting our valuables from power surges. However, they often sit on the ground, which makes them a very easy target for crawling kids.
Unused outlets in a power strip are just as dangerous as open wall outlets, so it is imperative that you keep power strips stowed behind furniture or lifted out of reach. There are several options for mounting power strips to the wall or to high spots on your entertainment center, such as Velcro and removable adhesive strips.
If you cannot find a way to keep the power strip hidden, you can purchase a plastic cover specially designed for power strips. They usually feature a long, thin opening on one side to accommodate all of the cords. While tiny fingers might be able to sneak into the opening, they will not be able to reach unused outlets or plugs.
If you use power strips in multiple locations throughout your home, you should consult a professional about upgrading your home’s electrical panel. The more appliances that you own, the more power you demand at any given moment. The wires in your home are only designed to carry a certain amperage, but when you demand more than their maximum, you risk overheating your wires, which can start a fire. A panel upgrade will make your home safer for your entire family.
Many Electrical Accidents Are Preventable!
In addition to hiding cords, you should also anchor large pieces of furniture, such as an entertainment system, to the wall. Kids are ingenious and, no matter how well you childproof, can sometimes still get to your cords. If your son is the next Hercules, make sure that no matter how hard he pulls on electrical cords, he cannot pull the TV or entertainment center down onto himself.
Hide Unused Electronics
When you are not using video game consoles or other entertainment devices, unplug them and store them out of reach, or close your entertainment center doors and secure them with a childproof lock.
There is No Such Thing as a Safe Cord
Do not be tempted into thinking that an exposed cord here or there is alright. You would be shocked at how quickly your son or daughter can access wire and wreak havoc with it. Hiding cords is the safest option, plus it will make your living room look more organized. If you cannot find a room arrangement that allows you to hide all of your cords, schedule an appointment to have a few additional outlets installed behind large pieces of furniture.