Whether you are expecting a new baby, or moving homes with your child, one of the first things you are likely to think about is safety. Your child is the most precious person in the world to you, and you want to take every precaution to ensure that they are free of harm in your home. And while there are certain intuitive steps you can take to childproof your home – hide the sharp objects, make the cleaning products unreachable, and keep any medicine locked away – keeping kids safe from electricity can seem a little more complicated.
But it only seems complicated. In truth, there are some very simple steps you can take to prevent electrical accidents. Kids are curious by nature, so your job is make sure that their curiosity never leads them to a situation where they can come into contact with electricity. In this article, we will discuss some of the common electrical hazards you might find in your house, as well as how to keep them from your children. We will also talk about how hiring professional electricians in Denver can help make your home safer for everyone – not just the kids.
This is usually what you think about when you think about childproofing your electrical systems. Those outlets sort of look like a face, don’t they? And they can be incredibly tempting for a curious child, who might be inclined to stick a coin in there, or their fingers. Luckily, there are a couple simple solutions to prevent your child from shocking themselves in the outlets.
If you have empty outlets (outlets that don’t have appliances plugged into them) reachable by children, it is a good idea to fill them with an electrical outlet cover or cap. The caps are made of plastic, and are therefore cheap enough to use all over the house, and they plug in flush with the wall, which makes them very difficult for those little kid hands to remove.
Another way that we can help with appliance upgrades to kid-proof your home is by installing tamper resistant receptacles. These outlets, which are required in new homes by the National Electric Code, have slots that are blocked by shutters, which will only open if both prongs of a plug are inserted, so they are safe for kids.
When we want to connect multiple appliances into our outlets, as is the case with TVs, sound systems and computers, we opt to use power strips (or power bars). The only trouble here is that they are usually kept on the ground, where kids can easily get to them. One solution for childproofing unused power strip outlets is to use the aforementioned outlet caps. Another way would be to buy a power strip cover, like this one that shields the actual outlets and can be wall mounted for extra safety.
Electrical Hazards – Room By Room
Now that we have discuss the common, house-wide hazards like outlets and power bars, let’s briefly discuss room-specific hazards.
The kitchen is home to quite a few dangerous electrical appliances – the toaster, the blender, the coffee maker and the oven, to name just a few. In the case of all but the oven, you want to unplug the chords and keep them tucked away somewhere high up on the kitchen counter when not in use. Dangling cords can be grabbed and pulled by children on the ground, which poses an even greater hazard if the appliance is still plugged in. With you oven, if the cord isn’t hidden already, do so.
Electricity and water a very dangerous duo. Any bathroom appliance should be unplugged from the wall and stored somewhere unreachable by children. That means hairdryers, curlers, straighteners, electric toothbrushes and electric razors – short of being hazards in and of themselves, they also pose a potential electrocution threat.
Basement & Garage
Wherever your breaker panel is – whether it’s in the basement or garage – there should be no stool or chair nearby upon which a kid can stand to reach it. This is more of a concern with older kids. Breaker panel manufacturers also sell a lock kit for their panels, so you can look into that as well.
Aside from the breaker, you obviously want to stow away any power tools and other big electrical devices, as these can be very dangerous. In general, it’s a good idea to keep your kids out of the garage and basement altogether – save with parental supervision.
In The Event Of An Emergency
Your child might not always be on your watch. You may have a babysitter looking after them or a relative, in which case you have to be explicit about emergency preparedness. Despite your best intentions, an electrical accident can happen, which is why it’s a good idea to always have a contact number for you and your doctor readily accessible, as well as the closest hospital.
You should also invest in a fire extinguisher (multiple, if your house is big) in case of an electrical fire. Make sure the fire extinguisher is hung out of reach of your child(ren) and that all the adults in the house know how to use it.
General Electrical Safety
If your wiring is old, or your circuit breaker doesn’t seem to be working properly, give us a call and we will come look at it, fixing it if necessary. That will keep everyone in the house safe. In order to have a properly childproofed home, your electrical system should be up to code and free of issues.
Whether you just moved into a new home, or you just brought home a new addition to the family, follow these easy steps to help childproof your electrical appliances and system. If in doubt, give us call here at Attaboy Electric and we will be more than happy to inspect your home to make sure your electrical system and appliances are running safely and efficiently.