Outlet Safety 101 for Families with Toddlers
Do you have a little one who is starting to crawl? If so, now is the time for safety measures to be put in place. Most people block off any stairs and add baby proof locks to cabinet doors, but don’t forget about all the electrical outlets! You can find at least one or two outlets in every room of your house, and, in fact, a single room can have as many as six outlets or more. We have a room that’s 12’X 20’ and there are seven outlets. When my kids were little, which was not that long ago, we really had only two decent options to reduce the hazards from electrical outlets; outlet caps or block off the outlets with furniture. Honestly, neither of those options were convenient as there was little or no access to many outlets in the house.
If you are fortunate enough to own a home that was built within the past few years, your home should be compliant with the latest building codes that help make electrical safety effortless when it comes to baby proofing. Starting in 2015, these newer homes should have tamper proof outlets that prevent objects from being forced into them. Theses outlets have a spring loaded shutter which closes off the outlet when not in use. From first glance, it will still look like the standard outlet we all grew up with, but if you look closely at the holes themselves, you’ll be able to see that they are closed off when not in use. The majority of us live in a home that’s older than 2015 and have to figure out another way to protect our little ones. You can install a spring loaded shutter outlet yourself, but many people cringe at the thought of taking apart an electrical box. So what are some other easy options?
Outlet caps, which are the “old fashioned”, simple piece of plastic with two prongs that you simply push into the outlet like you’re plugging something in, are cheap and effective. They are easy to use, but you have to remove them every time you want to use the outlet, which can be inconvenient. The best part of this simple addition to an outlet is that it’s incredibly difficult for a child to remove, but unfortunately it’s no easy task for an adult either. I can remember on more than one occasion, using a butter knife to pry an outlet cap off. So of course I laugh at my own stupidity since what I was doing was hardly considered safe for me, but the kids were good to go. However, if it’s going to cover an outlet you never use, this is an easy solution.
Thankfully, times have changed and there are more options that are effective and easier to use. They may cost a little bit more than an outlet cap, but they will save your sanity every time you need to plug something in.
If you’re looking for something convenient, but still easy on the budget, the LectraLock Outlet Covers are an excellent option to consider. Essentially, it’s a box that encases the electrical faceplate with holes that allow the cords to go through so you can leave an appliance plugged in instead of having to remove something like an outlet cap. This is perfect for a lamp, stereo or receiver, and since hundreds of Amazon customers give this product an overall rating of four and a half stars, they are definitely an option to consider.
The Twin Door Outlet Box is another good option because the face of it swings open like a double door and has a two button release so it’s difficult for children to open. It too allows for items to remain plugged in, but because it has a door that’s easy for an adult to open, it’s a great solution for a vacuum, phone charger, or anything else that just needs to be plugged in for a little while.
With both the LectraLock and Twin Door Outlet covers, Able Electric can purchase and conveniently retrofit your entire home. All in all, you have more options than I did when my kids were young that are still cost effective and will keep your children safe.
Author Megan Radtke