Having a new baby is a joy and delight, and prior to your little one’s arrival, you likely took numerous steps to prepare. Baby proofing your home for electrical safety, particularly once your little ones become mobile, is of critical importance. Following some guidance can help you to reduce the risk of a dangerous or fatal electrical accident in your home. Further, you can learn about strategies for teaching your kids about electrical safety.
Educate Your Kids
Even when your children are babies, you can tell them that they are not allowed to touch outlets and certain devices in the home. Starting this type of education early on can get children used to what they are permitted and not permitted to do. While you don’t want to scare your children away from ever using any electrical appliances in their lives, you should talk to them about the dangers of misusing outlets, devices and so forth in an age-appropriate fashion.
Use Outlet Caps
One of the most important steps in protecting your babies against electrical dangers is to use outlet caps. Little ones might get curious and try to stick their fingers or other objects in the outlet, which can result in electrocution and death. Make sure to select high-quality outlet caps. Some products can be easily removed even by young children. Always monitor your babies when they are around outlets. Even some of the toughest outlet covers could potentially be pried off.
Get GFCI Outlets
GFCI outlets, which stands for ground fault circuit interrupter, are necessary in areas of your home with water. In other words, you must have ground fault circuit interrupters in your kitchen and bathroom to minimize the risk of electrocution. If you have an older home or if a room in your home was not modeled up to code, hire a professional to resolve this issue immediately.
Clear the Tub Area
Having electrical devices near the bathtub poses a major deadly risk. A plugged-in radio or hairdryer dropped into a full tub means almost certain death for the person taking a bath. Teach your children about this danger from the time that they are young. Keep electrical devices far away from the bathing area. You don’t even want to put the idea of potentially playing with these devices in the water into your children’s heads.
Teach about Toaster Safety
When kids get to an age where they start to prepare simple meals for themselves, they might want to make toast in the morning. Starting when your children are young, teach them about the safe way to operate a toaster. Without being taught about the electrocution hazard of doing so, kids might think that using a fork to retrieve bread from the toaster is safe. Tell your children that they must never stick any forks or other such items in the toaster. Show little ones the proper way to remove toast.
Talk to Kids about the Stove and Oven
Whether you have an electric or gas stove and oven, your kids are likely going to see you using this appliance regularly, which could mean that little ones get curious. You can start talking to your babies early on about how they are never to touch the stove or oven.
Buy Stove Safety Knobs
You also must make sure that your kids don’t attempt to turn the stove on. While babies are likely too short to reach the button to turn most ovens on, they could grab the stove knobs. Even if babies are not purposely trying to play with the stove, they might grab onto the knobs as they are navigating the space and accidentally turn the appliance on. Remember that you must always monitor your baby. Knob covers offer an additional layer of protection, but these tools cannot guarantee safety.
When your babies turn into kids and teenagers, they are going to start plugging in their own devices, such as curling irons, cell phone chargers and coffee makers. Get children into the habit early on of unplugging devices when not in use. This action could protect against a deadly fire.
Keep Dangerous Items Away
While your babies are exploring the house, they might get curious and try to plug in an appliance. Before your baby is on the move, have a walk around your house to check each room for electrical appliances. For example, in the bathroom, make sure that any electric hair styling tools are safely locked away in drawers. Check the kitchen shelves and countertops for any appliances that your babies could reach.
Cover Surge Protectors
Just as you are going to cover the outlets in your home, you should also get protectors for any unused outlets on surge protectors. Keep in mind that babies might soon discover how to pull plugs out of the surge protector, so you will need to take additional precautions. You can also buy power strip covers that will cover the entire unit while still allowing you to plug devices in.
Repair Damaged Wires
Having damaged wires in the house is a fire hazard, and this issue could also lead to electrocution. Children might think that damaged wires are toys. Do not try to fix the wires by yourself either. Call in a qualified electrician. A professional might offer repair options for the wires or recommend a full replacement.
Look for Hanging Wires
When people think of electrical safety and their babies, they often focus exclusively on issues like electrocution and fire hazards. While these issues are of utmost importance, you also have to check the house for hanging wires that could become a choking hazard. Babies might think that wires are toys and wrap these wires around their necks. Make sure that all electrical wires and cords are safely out of the reach of your babies.
Watch for Fall Hazards
Running wires under a carpet is never a good idea due to the fire risk that this action can create. Also, family members in your household could trip over the wire because they can’t see it. This situation can be particularly dangerous for babies as they learn to crawl, walk and run. Babies don’t know to watch for wires under rugs, so make sure to fix this problem right away.
Ground the House
Grounding the house is a step that you can take to improve safety for everyone living under the roof. An ungrounded risk could be at a greater risk of a fire. Further, electrocution hazards can also be higher. To find out if your home is grounded or not, call a qualified electrician to conduct an inspection.
Huft Home Services, with locations in Elk Grove, Sacramento and Yuba City, can help you to identify and resolve electrical safety hazards in your home. Our professionals also offer panel upgrades, surge protection, generator installation and more. Further, we provide an array of heating and cooling services, including installation, repair and maintenance services. You can schedule plumbing work, too. We serve Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, San Joaquin, Yolo and Yuba counties. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.