When it comes time to childproof your home, you suddenly realize just how many ways there are for your little one to get hurt. For example, It can be hard to know what to do with all the cords in your home. We’ve put together this guide to help you think of all your options. So when it comes to baby proofing cords, everything you need to know is right here and you can keep your little ones safe.
The Dangers of Loose Electrical Cords
When I was baby proofing my home, I knew we needed to do something with all the cords we had around. I was worried about the boys getting tangled up in them and maybe choking. But, when I researched it, I realized that there were many more dangers of cords.
I’m going to share with you how small children, toddlers, and babies can get hurt due to unsecured cords. I’m sharing this, not to scare you, but to help you identify where you need to take action. So, here are some of the things you should keep in mind while you decide how to baby proof cords in your home.
- They pull out the cord, which gives them access to the outlet
- The cable gets tangled around their neck, choking them
- They bite through the plastic on the cord and get a shock
- Playing with cords causes them to fray, resulting in a shock
- Tripping over long cords
- Making the appliance fall on them by tugging on the cable
What You Need To Childproof Your Cords
What you will need will depend on each room and how your home is laid out. It is possible to childproof your cords without using any accessories. You unplug things and move the cables behind furniture items to keep them out of reach.
If you don’t want to rearrange your whole home to hide your cables, there are tools you can use. Here’s a summary of the items you can use for different jobs, as well as any alternatives.
- Secure TV: Anti tip cables
- Bundle cords: Cable sleeves, cable protectors, or zip ties
- Protect outlets: Outlet covers
- Secure cables to the wall: Cable tracks
- Shorten cords: Cable shorteners, outlet covers with integrated cable shortener, or zip ties
How To Childproof Cords
In this guide, I will cover all the actions you could take. They may not all apply to your situation. That’s why the first step is the most important.
#1 Assess Your Home For Risk
It’s best to be systematic about this. Do one room at a time. Look around the room and find every cord that’s within reach of a small child. It can be helpful to get down on the ground to do this. It makes it easier to spot all the cables.
Make a note of any cables that your child can reach. And then decide which of the next steps you should use to make them safe.
While you are doing this, you should also manually check every cable in reach. This means running your hand along the length of the cable and checking for any signs of damage. If there are any indications of fraying, cracks, or the plug feels loose, you should eliminate the cord.
You can guarantee that if you leave one slightly ‘iffy’ cord in your home, then that is the cord that your child will be magnetically attracted to. Kids are fun like that!
#2 Minimize the Number Of Cords and Extension Cords
Extension cords can be handy, but they increase the risk for your child. Using extension cords long term can also pose a fire risk, so it’s better to avoid them. So see if you can find a solution for the room without using them.
If you have items that are plugged in but never get used, this is an excellent opportunity to get rid of them or find them a new home.
#3 Consider the Positions of Your Electrical Devices
If you can, it’s ideal to have cords running down the back of furniture items that your child can’t move. This not only hides the cord but the socket as well. If you can put your lamp or TV in a different position where the cable is hidden, this can make it a lot easier to deal with.
#4 Fit Anti-Tip Straps
If your TV’s cord is within reach of your child, you might want to consider fitting anti-tip straps. These can stop the TV from falling on your child, not only if they pull on the cord but, also if they pull on the TV itself. As a bonus, this will also protect your TV in the event of an earthquake.
These straps are easy to fit. All TVs come with a set of holes in the back where you can attach these straps. You will then need to attach two screws into the wall to secure the straps and your TV. Once the mounts are in place, you use the straps to connect the TV to your wall.
If you don’t want to screw into your wall, you can find anti-tip straps that stick to the wall using adhesive pads instead.
#5 Fit Outlet Covers
By putting a child safe cover over your outlets, you will prevent your child from pulling the cord out. These clever boxes protect the outlets where you have devices plugged in.
They are straightforward to fit. You unscrew the faceplate on the outlet. Then screw on the new faceplate that the box attaches to. Once you’ve plugged your devices in, you clip the childproof cover over the outlet.
#6 Shorten Long Cords
If you have any long cords around, you need to find ways to shorten them. There are two options for doing this.
First, you can use zip ties. You wind the cord up and then use a zip tie to hold the excess out of the way. It’s an easy solution.
Another option if you’re not a fan of zip ties is to use a cord shortener. These come in all shapes and sizes and are a simple way to contain your excess cables. I prefer these because they’re easier to move and relocate.
Another option is to combine your cord shortener with your outlet cover. If you are using outlet covers anyway, then this is a good solution.
#7 Tape Cords Down
If you need to have a cord traveling a long distance and it is within reach of your child, then you should find a way to tack the cables down. It might be tempting to tuck them under something like a rug, but this can cause a fire hazard, so it should be avoided.
There are a few different ways that you can tape your cords down. The quick and easy option is to use duct tape to hold cords to your baseboards and masking tape in places where you don’t want to leave a mark.
There are more permanent options which are, in my opinion, a lot neater. In our home, we use cable tacks. These are small plastic clips that you use to nail the cable to the wall. They come in a range of sizes so you can find ones to work for any cable.
If you want to keep things as safe as possible, you can combine steps 5, 6, and 7. It keeps everything tidy and safe.
#8 Bundle Cords Together
If you have many wires going to the same place, for example, to a computer or television. Then it can be a good idea to wrap the cables together using a cord sleeve. What this does is make your cable look tidier, and thus less attractive to small hands. It also makes it a lot easier to tack them into position against your wall.
Putting a cable sleeve on is easy. They have a slit along the length of them that you slide the cables into. You then cut them to be the right length for your needs.
It can be helpful to use zip ties to hold your bundle of cables together. But, I found that even when you cut the tab as short as possible, it can still be quite sharp. That’s why I’m a big fan of cable sleeves. They hide the zip ties away.
#9 Use Cord Protectors
If you’re concerned about your teething child chomping on your electrical cables, you can get a type of cord sleeve designed to resist chewing. They are mostly aimed at pet owners, but they work just as well to stop kids from munching through a power cable.
These cord protectors have a small slit in the side so that you can slide the wires inside. It’s the same as the cable sleeves. If you want, you can use this inside of other cable sleeves as well.
#10 Get into Good Safety Habits
Habits are what help us get through the day. They’re the things that we do without even thinking about them. So, you need to try and cultivate some electrical safety habits, so that when you’re sleep-deprived and on autopilot, you don’t accidentally leave a cord trailing.
Here are some things you can try.
- Choose a phone charging spot that you always use. The perfect place is somewhere out of the way where your little one won’t get at the cable.
- Don’t keep interesting or colorful items near your cables and outlets. The less clutter there is around your cables, the less attractive they will be.
- Unplug portable appliances when they’re not in use. This applies to things like hair dryers. When you’re done using it, put it away, straight away.
- Try and plug appliances in when your little ones aren’t watching. If they see you using an outlet, they’re going to be interested and come over to tug at it. So, practice your ninja skills and learn to plug and unplug with stealth.
#11 Teach Electrical Safety As Soon As You Can
You can’t start too soon on electrical safety. If your child is playing with an electrical cord or an outlet, even covered ones, use the opportunity to tell them that ‘it’s not a toy’ or that ‘it can hurt you.’
You don’t have to make a big deal out of it. Being calm will make it less enjoyable to play with as well.
Start talking to your child about dos and don’ts with electricity. You can keep it simple with a few fundamental rules.
- Ask a grown-up to plug things in
- Electricity and water don’t mix
- If you see sparks stay away and get a grown-up
To Sum It Up
Childproofing all the cables in your home is a challenge. Take time to assess each room and then apply the solution that will work best for the situation. You want to aim for the minimum amount of cables in reach of your child. Any that you can’t hide should be secured to the wall.
Remember that babyproofing your home isn’t something you do once. It’s something you will need to revisit every time you get a new appliance or piece of furniture, which is why it’s essential to teach your child how to be safe on their own as soon as possible.