Baby Proofing Electrical Outlets and Other Electrical Safety Tips For Your Child
So you and your spouse are expecting your first child…congratulations! Not only is this an exciting moment for the both of you, but it can also be an overwhelming one. Choosing the correct brands of baby products ranging from bottles to diapers to high chairs can make anyone’s head spin. Then there is the nursery decorating and painting, along with a few other last minute details before your precious little peanut arrives. The very last thing on your mind right now would be baby proofing electrical outlets all over the house.
It will take awhile before your little one is crawling and walking all over the place. But before you know it, that 3-month-old will be able to crawl all over the downstairs and upstairs of your house. Getting prepared now means not forgetting later. Your home will be in tip top shape for when that bundle of joy is finally here.
Tips For Baby Proofing Electrical Outlets
First thing is first when it comes to baby safety: child proofing your electrical outlets around the house. Before taking a look at some of the options, it’s important to note that the first and best option listed below (tamper resistant receptacles) are required now by the NEC in homes built after 2008.
Tamper Resistant Receptacles (Outlets)
The best and safest way for baby proofing electrical outlets in your home is the installation of tamper resistant receptacles. A tamper resistant receptacle is an outlet that has a spring-loaded mechanism which allows the slots of the receptacle to be closed if a plug is not inserted. It is only when a plug is inserted into a tamper-resistant receptacle that the slots will open and allow the metal prongs of the plug to make contact with an electrical current.
When there is no equal pressure inserted into the slots of a tamper resistant receptacle provided by a plug, the springs in the cover plate will not open; hence, when a child puts a foreign object in one of the slots, the springs will not compress because there is no simultaneous pressure, and the slots on the receptacle remain closed, with no contact to any electricity.
Because a tamper resistant receptacle only opens its slots with simultaneous pressure, your child will be fully protected from trying to insert anything foreign in the outlet. As electricians, we believe this option to be the best and safest because your child will not be able to pull off anything, like those small plastic electrical outlet caps. Children are clever and can watch how you remove these.
Also, with a tamper resistant receptacle, you won’t have to keep taking off those plastic caps when you need to use the outlet. No need to worry about misplacing a cover or losing one when nothing extra needs to be plugged in for a covering.
If you aren’t confident with replacing your existing outlets with tamper resistant outlets, call an electrician! 🙂
Safe Plate Outlet Cover
Another option is a product on the market called a safe plate outlet cover. If you are on a budget and need a quicker fix than installing a tamper resistant outlet (although us electricians still recommend it for safety and convenience), try this product. For baby proofing electrical outlets, you simply replace your existing outlet cover plate with this safe plate. The plate acts just like a tamper resistant receptacle with a spring loaded mechanism.
Deluxe Press Fit Outlet Plugs
An upgrade to the small plastic outlet caps we referred to previously is the deluxe press fit outlet plugs. These have an extra stage of protection for a clever child because you have to simultaneously press down on two buttons to remove the caps from the slots.
Still, the disadvantages with these outlet plugs is that you’ll have to take them in and out every time you want to use the outlet, making it easier to lose or misplace them.
Baby Proofing Electrical Outlets Wrap-Up
With so many different products on the market in addition to the two mentioned above, it’s easy to choose the least expensive option when baby proofing electrical outlets around the house. The best option we believe is for installing tamper resistant receptacles in areas that are no more than 5.5 feet high from the floor. This way, you won’t have to worry about adding on anything additional to the outlets, and you’ll have piece of mind knowing that safety and convenience is already in place.
Other Child Proofing Electrical Safety Tips
- Childproof your electrical cords. Kids love to yank on them and pull them out, which can be a major electrical hazard when a plug is pulled by its cord.
- Purchase a baby safe electrical outlet cover
- Childproof your power strips.
- Purchase a baby safe power strip cover
- Refrain from using any extension cords around the house. Major tripping hazards when your clumsy one is just learning how to walk, among other things like wanting to chew on and pull on them.