Before having any kids of my own, I knew very little about baby safety protocol for the home. Sure, I had seen the little caps people put in their empty outlets, but that was the extent of my knowledge.
With an 18-month old of my own now, I have become rather well-versed in baby proofing the home!
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are roughly 2,400 injuries and a dozen fatalities by children each year from electrical shocks in the home. There are several things you can do to baby proof your electrical systems, though!
The first thing you should do is determine whether your power outlets are tamper proof (or not). Tamper-Resistant Receptacles (TRRs) have what appears to be plastic in the vertical outlet slots. These slots are designed to only open if both sides are pressed simultaneously.
Some quick information from a Google search confirmed that my wife and I did not have TRRs in our home. They were only required by electrical codes starting in 2008, so our home built in 2004 did not have any of these.
How we baby proofed our home
In addition to the individual plastic outlet caps you’ve probably seen, there are also safety plates you can install over existing electrical outlets. This added layer of protection requires you to slide the outlet cover over before you can plug something into it. These cost a couple of dollars a piece at various online stores.
We ended up going the thrifty route and bought some plastic individual outlet caps to take care of our empty and unused electrical outlets. That cost us less than ten dollars for the entire house! It only provided a certain level of security, though, as our little guy seemed to enjoy trying to unplug the power cords from outlets and power strips.
Once again, we utilized the power of internet search and located numerous other solutions to our dilemma.
There are several companies who have created different types of covers for your electrical outlets and power strips. They’re designed to keep the cords from being unplugged by little ones. Some are much easier to install and use than others, so be sure to read online reviews carefully.
By the time we had our home’s electrical systems baby proofed, we had invested a fair amount of time in the process. I was a little concerned about what traveling would look like, but my wife’s Pinterest activities yielded a helpful tip—bring a roll of duct tape with you! While it’s a bit unsightly, and it’s not a great permanent solution, you can easily cover the outlets in a hotel room or relative’s living space with a small amount of duct tape.
Will you need to be baby proofing your home soon? If your home was built after 2008, then there is a fair chance your outlets are tamper resistant. It’s definitely worth investigating!
If you don’t have TRRs, feel free to pull from the experience my wife and I had. Of course, if you decide that you would like your current outlets changed to newer tamper-proof models, give our office a call. We would be happy to help.