When you think about childproofing your household electrical system, what comes to mind? Maybe purchasing and inserting a few outlet plugs on the receptacles nearest your floor? Perhaps scooting long cords out of view? While these approaches are certainly helpful, they’re far from adequate.
Kids are curious, and if left to explore, chances are they’ll find a way to get into the very things you’re trying to protect them from. Below, the electricians at Harrison Electric share a few helpful tips to help you fully childproof everything electrical.
Electrical Outlet Replacement
Though standard wall outlets are fine, installing tamper-resistant outlets provides an additional layer of protection for your little ones. With tamper-resistant outlets, your kids can’t stick their fingers in the receptacle, no matter how much they try to fiddle with it.
Unlike a standard outlet, a tamper-resistant outlet is designed with spring-loaded interior shutters that self-close whenever a plug is not inserted in the outlet. This prevents tiny fingers from touching the electrical contacts, therefore protecting against shock.
Ideally, you should install tamper-resistant outlets in all locations your children are likely to reach. To get the job done, schedule a service call for outlet replacement with a licensed electrician.
Install Outlet Covers
Curious children don’t understand that outlet plugs serve to protect them. Rather, they often perceive those plugs as an interesting puzzle that must be solved. That’s exactly the opposite of what you want.
If you’re worried about your little ones attempting to remove your outlet plugs, install outlet covers or caps instead. These protective devices are far more difficult (and less interesting) to fiddle with. You have a couple of options to choose from:
● Sliding covers. These covers sit over the top of your existing outlets and close automatically as soon as you remove an electrical plug. They cannot be pulled out of the wall, and your kids have zero ability to access the holes in the outlet.
● Box covers. These covers sit over the top of electrical plugs that must remain plugged in at all times. Box covers a great option for preventing small fingers from fiddling with appliance cords and outlets as they cannot be removed by small hands.
While you can certainly install outlet covers on your own, it’s a good idea to schedule the job with a licensed electrician. A qualified professional can give you additional tips for childproofing your home, as well as recognize potential hazards you may not be aware of.
Use Childproof Power Strip Covers
If you use power strips around the house, they can present a major hazard. Fortunately, there are childproof covers that sit over the top of your power strips, which prevent the cords from being unplugged.
For adults, they’re easily removable; for kids, they’re confounding objects that, while they might draw some attention initially, aren’t really worth the time investment. After all, if it can’t be moved, is it really worth fiddling with?
The easiest way to keep cords out of your little one’s hands is to scoot them out of view and duct tape them to the floor. But that’s not very aesthetic, is it?
If you have extra-long cords, do your best to roll up excess cord into a tight coil. Use a zip tie to secure the coil and cut the tie flush with its fastener to avoid a jagged edge. Install a box outlet cover over any receptacles these cords plug into, so your little ones cannot remove the plug from the wall.
If you’re using excessively long cords and several power strips to make up for an outlet shortage, that’s never a great (or safe!) idea. Rather than hanging on to your makeshift mess, contact an electrician to schedule new outlet installation. Electrical code mandates a certain number of outlets in each habitable room, and installing additional outlets will help bring your house up to code.
Need an Electrician in Minneapolis? Contact Harrison Electric
If you need help or advice on childproofing your household electrical system, at Harrison Electric, we’re here for you. We’ve proudly served Twin Cities homeowners since 1985 with a comprehensive variety of residential electrician services, and our number one goal is your 100% satisfaction. To schedule service or request a quote, call our Minneapolis, MN office today at 763-544-3300 or contact us online.