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You thought the day was light years away, but all of sudden, your child can reach the light switches and you’re scrambling to child proof them before bedtime so they’re not having a tiny toddler rave at midnight.
Yup, we’ve all been there. Child proofing light switches is relatively simple and it won’t take you long, but you need the right tools to get it done. I put this together because I know how important it is to keep your child away from switches, especially when the garbage disposal is feeling vulnerable.
At the end of this tutorial, you’ll have a lot of switches your toddler (hopefully) can’t figure out and you’ll have a whole lot more peace of mind.
What You Need to Child Proof Light Switches
The tools you’ll need for this tutorial are fairly simple. You’ll need to select the appropriate product for the type of switches you have. There are covers for toggle switches and rocker switches.
- A light switch guard that fits your switch type
- A screwdriver
It’s also possible to create DIY covers for toggle switches. You can use the same technique for rocker switches, but it’s not quite as easy or effective. Here’s what you’ll need:
- An old milk carton or any other thick but flexible plastic you can cut
- A screwdriver
Which solution you choose to use will depend on how much money you want to spend and whether or not you enjoy DIY projects. Neither is very hard, but the DIY solution costs much less.
Step by Step Instructions for Installing a Store-Bought Light Switch Guard
If you’re installing one of the above store-bought child proof light switch guards, let’s get started! This tutorial works for both toggle and rocker light switch guards.
1. Remove the light switch guard from the packaging.
Unbox the light switch cover, but be careful not to tear any instructions. If you anticipate needing to return it at any time or you’re unsure whether it will work, make sure you don’t damage the packaging.
2. Hold the light switch guard with the arrows facing upward and push up on the front cover.
Make sure the arrows on both the back plate and the front cover are facing up. Push up on the front cover so it slides about ¼”.
3. Remove the front cover from the back plate.
Gently pinch the front cover on both sides at the bottom to release the locking tabs. Then pinch the front cover on both sides at the top and remove completely from the back plate.
4. Remove the existing screws on your switch plate.
Using your screwdriver, remove the existing screws on your switch plate, but leave the switch plate on the light switch and keep the screws for step 5. Make sure to keep your existing screws handy so you can use them when you remove your light switch guard later.
5. Place the backplate of the light switch guard over the light switch.
Make sure the arrow is still facing up, and place the back plate over the light switch. Using the screws provided in the packaging, screw it in place.
6. Place the front cover over the light switch.
Making sure the arrow is pointing up, place the front cover on the back plate, squeeze gently, and slide it down into place until it snaps. Now you can reach your finger under the front cover and turn the light on and off.
Step by Step Instructions for a DIY Light Switch Guard
If you’d like to try your hand at a DIY light switch guard before you spend money on one, you can try this one for either type of light switch.
1. Cut a strip of plastic.
Cut your plastic strip as long as the switch plate, keeping in mind that as you place it over the light switch, you may need a few extra centimeters. Make sure to also cut it thick enough to cover enough of the light switch that your toddler can’t get to it, but you still can.
If you have rocker switches rather than toggle switches, your plastic piece may need to be slightly bigger. It may also be a bit easier for your child to figure out, and you may have to resort to a store-bought solution. But hey, it’s worth a try!
This step is optional, but you may find it fun to decorate your plastic. You can cover it in fun washi tape or color it with craft materials. Keep in mind that the more fun you make it look, the more your child may want to play with it.
3. Punch holes in the plastic.
Remove the existing screws from the switch plate. Place the plastic piece over your light switch and mark where the screws will go. Use your screwdriver or the screws you removed to punch holes in the plastic.
4. Screw the cover in place.
Place the homemade cover over the switch, line up the holes, and put the screws back in. You should now be able to reach in from the side and turn the light on and off.
Thanks for following along. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you are in desperate need of keeping your child away from switches, these solutions are the best I’ve found. If you enjoyed this, or you have another solution you’ve found to work even better, leave it in the comments to help other parents! Don’t forget to share this if you enjoyed it and thought it was helpful!