How to prevent electrocution: Act now

Children  playing with electrical extension and outlet  at home
Photo credit: Freepik

Babyproofing electric outlets and cords is critical for your baby’s safety. If your baby comes in direct physical contact with electricity by biting an electrical cord or poking a metal object into an outlet for example, an electric shock might happen as the current runs through his body.

Electrical injuries can range from momentary discomfort to permanent organ damage (and even death). The extent of injuries depends on the source, voltage, and strength of the current, as well as how long the contact with your baby lasts.

In this guide, we have gathered everything you need to know about babyproofing all things electrical in your home so you can protect your baby.

Electric Outlets

Children love to stick their little fingers everywhere, especially in electric outlets. The problem is that these outlets are usually low to the ground and easily accessible to them. Not only that, but they also like to stick metal objects inside like cutlery, bobby pins, coins, keys, scissors […]. The metal is a good conductor of electricity, which means your baby might have an electrical shock. Until they are mature enough to understand the danger of electricity, you need to be alert and supervise them around electric outlets.

At home, you can protect them from the danger of electric outlets by using outlet covers. Before we dig in on the different types of outlet covers, you need first to understand what sort of outlets you have in your home.

There are currently 15 types of domestic electrical outlet plugs in use worldwide , each of which has been assigned a letter (Click here for a world map showing the spread of plug types). In GCC, we use type G outlets which have three rectangular prongs. Click here for more information on type G outlets.

Now that you have determined the type of outlet that you have in your home, let’s check the 3 most common types of outlet covers:

1 Plug-in covers 

These covers are inserted into the outlet like an appliance would be to cover the holes, and they’re usually designed to be difficult to pull off (for you and your child). They come in bulk and are fairly inexpensive, which is an advantage especially if you need to babyproof your entire home. Installation is a simple matter of just pushing these into each outlet. Unfortunately, your baby might learn how to pull them off as he gets older. The cover can become then a choking hazard as it ends up in your baby’s mouth.

2 Box outlet covers

These electric outlet covers form a box around the outlets and the plugs going into them. They are perfect for outlets that are in constant use, so your baby can’t pull out the plugs and access the outlets. Look for an outlet box that is hard for your baby to open and that can fit in the space you have. Installation involves screws and a screwdriver.

3 Sliding outlet covers

These self-closing outlet covers must be screwed in to replace your existing covers. To plug something in, simply slide the cover over to expose the plug holes. When you’re done, the cover snaps back into position with closed-off holes. This feature makes this outlet cover one of the most effective. There is no choking hazard, and you don’t have to rely on everyone in the household to reinstall the outlet cover as is the case with the plug-in covers.

Electric Cords

Now that we covered electric outlets, let’s talk about electric cords. We live in a wired world, so you will find these cords laying around every inch of your house. They are particularly dangerous because they pose all sorts of hazards. Your baby can tug on the cord and get closer to an outlet. He can wrap the cord around his neck and choke. He can chew on the cord and get shocked. He can trip over long cords. He can use the cord to drag an object down onto him. O.K., you get the idea. Fortunately, there is a solution for every problem. Here are 5 babyproofing safety measures for electric cords that you can take to ensure your baby is safe:

1 Dispose of items with old or frayed cords

The electric cord on your appliance contains a live wire that is securely insulated. But if a cord becomes frayed, the live wire can be exposed. This is dangerous and can leave you vulnerable to electric fires. Also, if you or your baby touch the frayed cord, you run the risk of being electrocuted. So, it’s better to discard of items with old or frayed cords. If the cord is attached to an appliance you would like to keep, contact an electrician to help you.  Do not try to repair it yourself.

Keep cords shorter than 12 inches (30cm). This goes for non-electrical cords too as they can become a strangulation hazard.

2 Cover exposed outlets

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your baby won’t poke his fingers into an electric outlet or pull on an exposed cord, is by rearranging your furniture. Go through your home and check for exposed outlets. If you can, place heavy furniture in front of them as a barrier. Follow this link for more on babyproofing furniture.

Cable sleeve, Outlet cover with cord shortener, duct cord cover, cord shortener

3 Get a cord shortener

The cord shortener is designed to prevent access and tripping hazards caused by unused portions of electrical cords by storing the excess of a long cord inside a receptacle. Look for something sturdy and most importantly child resistant. Some of the cord shorteners come combined with an outlet cover. See what works best for you.

4 Get a duct cord cover

If you have long cords running across a room, use duct cord covers. Don’t be tempted to conceal your cord under a carpet as it may lead to overheating and possible fire. The duct cord cover allows you to string multiple cords through a rubber or plastic cover that stays on the floor and provide an effective protection barrier from foot traffic. If you look around enough, you can find something that can match your décor and add a little style to those unsightly wires and cables while protecting your baby. You can also use the duct cord cover on your walls.

5 Wrap cords together

Wrapping cords together can help keeping things organized, and they have the added bonus that your baby is less likely to play with cords. There are several ways you can wrap cords together. You can use a zip tie and then trim the tie flush leaving no sharp edges. Another way is to use a cable sleeve. Those come in different sizes and materials, but all accomplish the same purpose. They are especially useful in areas of your home where you have multiple cords like behind the TV entertainment system or computer where a lot of small cables are usually connected and exposed.

Power Strips

Your baby is as fascinated by a power strip as he is with electric outlets and cords. If you are using one at home, it’s good to invest in a power strip cover to protect your baby. They are generally made of plastic and have a long slit. The slit allows the cords to come through while covering the outlets and power button.

In A Nutshell

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