Electrical Safety for Children and Pets: Tips on How to Keep Kids and Animals Away From Electrical Devices
It is hard enough to keep a home safe for children or pets without constantly worrying about them accidentally injuring themselves with an electrical outlet or device. Organizations such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fire Administration, and Safe Electricity all stress the importance of electrical safety for the prevention of injuries and fires, but it can be difficult to know where to start.
Here are some simple tips that any household can follow to help avoid injury from electrical devices, such as outlets, power cords and power strips and to keep a home running more smoothly and safely.
Cover Electrical Outlets
Cover all unused outlets. This is probably the simplest and cheapest, yet most important, step in keeping children and pets from accidentally electrocuting themselves. The most effective types of outlet covers replace existing face plates with a new face plate that has a locking plastic cover. These can be found and purchased online using “outlet covers baby safety” as a search term.
Close Rooms With Electrical Equipment
Keep doors closed to rooms with many electrical devices. This can include home theaters, offices, sewing rooms or other rooms that have many outlets and/or devices with power cords. Simply closing a door to a room can help prevent little ones and four legged family members from seeing and exploring.
Keep Cords Covered
Cover all cords with cord keepers. Use the plastic kind of cord keepers that fasten with screws or adhesive to the wall along baseboards or up corners and tuck all loose cords into them. For rooms with multiple, thick cables all running to the same outlets, purchase concrete post forms (the cardboard kind) from a local home supply store, hide them behind a sofa or desk against the wall and run cables through them. These can also be painted to match the carpet or wall. Keeping cords hidden will help prevent little ones and animals from tripping, getting tangled, or pulling an object down onto themselves by the cord.
Remove Appliances From Reach
Remove all electrical appliances from toddler rooms and pet areas. Once a child is old enough to be mobile, all potential hazards should be removed from a room. If a nightlight is necessary, unplug it during times on non-use and put it atop a dresser or wardrobe where small hands cannot reach it.
Place locking covers over power strips and surge protectors. A cover will help prevent accidental electrocution by preventing fingers and paws from entering outlets and will protect cords from being pulled out of outlets.
Teach Electrical Safety
Teach children that cords and power outlets are not toys and should be treated with great respect. Older children can be shown how to properly plug in an appliance safely under adult supervision. Curious pets can be kept at bay by spraying a store bought “bitter yuck” spray on cords and outlet covers or by confining them to a crate when owners are not at home to supervise.
It can be difficult to foresee every possible accident and prevent it before it happens. However, there are simple things any family can do to help prevent injuries from electrical cords and equipment, including covering outlets and cords, removing electrical devices or closing off rooms with electrical devices, and teaching children and pets to stay away from potentially harmful devices. Taking these precautions can help substantially increase the safety and comfort of a home.