There’s nothing more important than the safety of your children. One of the most insidious and underestimated hazards in the home is electricity. Particularly for babies and young children, contact with electricity can be catastrophic. To prevent a disaster, be sure to thoroughly babyproof your residence, including all electrical outlets and cords.
Babyproofing Your Home
Making your home safe for kids can feel like a daunting task, especially for first-time parents or grandparents. The world is full of electrical outlets and cords, all of which can pose a threat to your little one's safety. Even experienced parents find maintaining a safe home challenging, as modern life involves countless devices that rely on electricity.
To ensure the electrical safety of your children, here are several essential measures you can take.
Use Outlet Covers
Start with installing covers or safety plugs on all electrical outlets. This simple step prevents children from inserting objects or their fingers into the outlets, reducing the risk of electric shock. There are several types of covers you can use:
Plastic electrical outlet covers
Self-closing outlet covers
Install GFCI Outlets
Ask your electrician to install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets in areas where water is present, like kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor spaces. GFCI outlets quickly interrupt the electrical circuit if a fault is detected, preventing some electric shocks.
Building codes often require these in some locations, but your home may predate those standards. A professional electrician can evaluate your home and tell you where you need GFCI upgrades.
Install AFCI Outlets
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) outlets are like GFCI outlets, but they prevent electrical fires caused by arcing faults through detection and mitigation. Check with a professional electrician to see whether AFCI outlets might be right for your home.
Use Child-Proofing Cords
Keep electrical cords out of reach by using cord organizers, concealers, or shorteners. Long cords can be especially hazardous. Secure cords of any length to walls or furniture to prevent tripping hazards and discourage children from playing with them.
You should also be sure cables and wires are neatly secured and kept away from children's reach. Use cable ties, cord clips, or cable covers to prevent tripping and minimize the possibility of accidental contact or damage.
Safety with Appliances
Teach children not to touch electrical appliances with wet hands or insert objects into them. Unplug appliances when not in use and store them out of reach of children. Use outlet covers or plug guards to prevent access to unused appliance outlets.
Education and Supervision
Educate children about electrical safety, emphasizing the dangers of playing with electrical outlets, cords, or appliances. Young children should be supervised closely around electrical appliances or outlets.
Tell them to ask for help with using appliances or plugging something in. With very young children, it’s best to make rules black and white—they should not touch anything that uses electricity, ever.
As children grow, teaching them how to use electricity safely is essential to prevent injuries and emergencies. Parents should practice safe electricity use, especially while in front of young children.
You should also establish house rules to prevent accidents. Children can watch instructional videos on electrical safety, obey guidelines set by their parents, and ask for help when using electrical devices.
Periodically check electrical cords, outlets, and appliances for signs of damage or wear. Replace any frayed or damaged cords immediately. Scheduling regular electrical inspections in your home will verify the electrical system is in good condition.
Remember, electrical safety is a shared responsibility. By implementing these measures and providing education, you can help protect your children from electrical hazards and create a safe environment for them to thrive.
Additional Babyproofing Suggestions
In addition to electrical safety, there are other measures you can take to make your home safer for your little ones.
Place small items out of reach to prevent choking hazards.
Always read the packaging to see what age a product is appropriate for. Don’t give a child any toy that indicates it would be a choking hazard for their age.
Remove small parts from toys to prevent choking.
Always supervise your child while they’re playing with small toys.
Require your child to sit still in an upright position while eating.
Don’t leave your child unattended while they are eating.
Use baby gates anywhere your home has stairs. You should use one at the top and one at the bottom of the staircase.
Use doorknob covers to prevent kids from getting into (or out of) any rooms by themselves.
Use cabinet locks to secure breakables, household cleaners or chemicals, medicine, or anything you’d prefer kids not access.
Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
Teach kids about the dangers of natural gas and the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Use babyproof knob covers on gas stoves.
Use a baby monitor to keep an eye on your little ones when they’re asleep.
Purchase an anti-choking device and keep it handy
Follow all advice from your pediatrician with regards to safe sleeping practices for babies and toddlers.
Nothing is more important than your little one’s safety. Attend a first aid course before your baby arrives and keep child-choking rescue devices handy. Install stair gates, use fireguards, and take precautions in the kitchen to prevent injury. Accidents can happen in an instant, so constant vigilance is required.
Emergency Contacts and Disaster Preparation
Print out a card with your emergency contact numbers and addresses and keep it on the wall. These contacts can include your mobile number, your spouse’s or co-parent’s mobile number, your pediatrician's emergency number, the number for poison control, and other emergency contacts. This information is invaluable in emergencies and is also useful for babysitters.
Teach your child how to use the phone and how to exit the front door in case of a fire. Teach them what the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors sound like and what to do if they hear one. Establish a safe meeting place at least 50 feet outside the home (or twice the height of the building) and instruct kids to wait for you there in the event of an emergency.
Childproofing Your Home Requires Diligence
As your child grows, new hazards may arise. It's essential to continually assess the safety of your home. If you have questions or need expert guidance about the electrical systems and safety in your residence, don't hesitate to ask the experts at Thomas Edison Electric.
Your child's safety is a top priority for us, as well. We offer 24/7 emergency service across Pennsylvania, in areas like York, Chambersburg, Mifflin, and Scranton. Schedule an appointment or give us a call today!
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