Have you ever caught your little one slowly crawling towards an electrical outlet, and a part of you freaked out while helping them?
Yup, we all have gone through that.
We can’t take our eyes off our baby for one second when it comes to electrical stuff because the next thing we know, they will HURT themselves.
To save you time and effort, we have put together this article on how to baby-proof electrical cords, electrical outlets, and power strips to make your home more baby-proof.
Let’s dive right in!
How to Baby Proof Electrical Cords
Electric cords are used everywhere. Without it, there’s no way our appliances will function in our homes.
It’s not possible to completely live without them!
Long and colorful things often look like toys to babies, so we can’t really blame them for taking an interest in electric cords.
BUT, we can protect them from the hazards that come with it.
So, without further ado, here are the tips how to baby-proof electrical cords!
#1 Tie the Long Cord
The first thing we can do is shorten them by wrapping and tying them with tape or a zip tie.
By doing this, we are lessening the risk of our toddlers getting their hands on a long cord and pulling them.
If you don’t have electrical tape or a zip tie on hand, rubber bands, hair ties, and paper clips work just fine, too.
We assure you this DIY solution to shorten cords will save you a lot of trouble!
Another DIY way is to use wide duct tape to secure the cords to the floor, so they won’t be easily removed.
#2 Use Cord Shorteners
A cord shortener is a product that helps prevent access to dangling and long cords around our house. It greatly reduces the risk of tripping, electrocution, and even strangulation!
It’s a more fancy version of tieing the long cord, but it’s safer as the long cord can be wrapped inside the cord shortener.
This will significantly reduce the risks of the child finding exposed cords.
Dreambaby Electrical Cord Shortener
This cord shortener from Dreambaby is SUPER easy-to-use and suitable for most appliances that use less than 600 watts.
You would only need to twist the cords, and they will line up to the holes!
We super love this product because it’s straightforward and portable, perfect for you and your baby for travel.
The next time you visit another house, your toddler will be safe from exposed cords!
PLUS, unlike other cord shorteners, the Dreambaby cord shortener DOES NOT require any installation.
Sounds easy, right?
#3 Try Out Extension Cord Covers
Sometimes, we have to use extension cords, especially if the outlet is far from where we will use our appliances (e.g., when cleaning or vacuuming).
However, using extension cords carries with it a RISK.
If we can avoid using them, then good, but if not, we have to make sure our little ones won’t trip on them.
One practical solution is to ensure that the extension cords run along the wall and not across the room.
REMEMBER: An exposed cord is a magnet for accidents!
But if that can’t be done, you should opt to use a cord cover. This does an AMAZING job hiding a long electrical cord that runs across the room.
It will keep your floor and carpet free of cords!
Some cord covers often come with their own outlet cover. This means that the plug and a part of the cord are already hidden away, so they cannot be pulled out of electrical outlets.
Another alternative is a duct cord cover. They are made of silicon or pliable plastic that allows multiple cords to be hidden inside.
You can also include ethernet cables and phone lines inside a duct cord cover.
Wiremold Floor Cord Management Kit
This duct cover from C2G is not only durable but can also be installed easily and can be cut to one’s desired length using scissors and a knife.
Duct cord covers will do your house WONDERS!
#4 Wrap Cords Together
Even though we avoid having lots of power cords in one area, sometimes we can’t really avoid it, such as in workspaces and near your computer.
The trick here is to use a device that can wrap the cords, such as a cord sleeve.
JOTO Cable Management Sleeve
This cable management sleeve from JOTO is made of neoprene stretchy material, which allows for multiple long cords and cables to be fit inside it.
It’s super easy to use and ideal for keeping long cords organized!
Have we mentioned that you can zip two sleeves together? Yup, it’s cool like that.
#5 Use Cord Protectors
Now, if you haven’t done any of the steps above, you might consider doing this one.
Cord protectors are those extra layers of plastic you can put around long cords to prevent bending.
It’s especially useful if your child is prone to biting. It can also be used on an extension cord as it comes in different sizes.
CritterCord Cord Protector
This cord protector from CritterCord is also infused with a scent and a bitter taste deterrent that will prevent your pets and other rodents from biting on it.
We recommend you get a cord protector when you want to avoid having damaged cords, especially if your children like to play with long cords around the house.
How to Baby Proof Electrical Outlets
Every parent knows the dangers that electrical outlets can pose to children.
But, a house can’t function without electrical outlets, right?
That’s why we need to transform them into BABY-PROOF ones.
Don’t worry, we got your back on this. But first, we need to do an important task…
#1 Assess the Type of Electrical Outlet You Have
There are a LOT of types of outlets around the world, but the most common outlets are the GFCI outlets and AFCI outlets.
Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) electrical outlets are intended to protect people from electrical shocks that can be fatal.
You’ll know you have GFCI outlets when you see the “reset” and “test” buttons on the outlet.
This outlet is known to protect people from shocks by cutting the power if a ground fault is detected.
The other type of outlet is called the Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) outlet.
They are designed similarly to GFCI outlets and aim to prevent electrical shocks. The difference is it arcs electricity instead.
An arc fault occurs when damaged electrical wires do not connect properly, and it causes sparks to appear.
So which is better between the two? Well, you can’t go wrong with either one.
As long as you have these types of occupied outlets in your home, you can minimize the risks of any sparks, fires, and accidents!
#2 Utilize Plastic Outlet Covers
Yup, you don’t have to cover them with duct tape.
The first solution every parent should do to ensure electrical outlet safety is to cover electrical outlets!
Electrical outlet covers include plastic caps with prongs that fit inside the outlet.
This effectively prevents direct contact of the electric outlets with different objects and fingers.
PLUS, one other benefit of these electrical outlet covers is they are not easily pulled out by small hands.
PandaEar Outlet Plug Covers
These electrical outlet covers from PandaEar are durable and made from PP quality plastic, making them free of BPA.
If you’re worried you won’t be able to remove the outlet plugs yourself, they are designed to have a hidden concave edge to let parents safely remove the covers without the use of tools.
What we really like about having plastic outlet covers is that they are NOT expensive, which makes it more affordable to buy in bulk.
This makes baby-proofing electrical outlets achievable for many!
These plastic caps also come in different styles and designs. BUT, as our little ones are driven by their curiosity, they can easily learn to pull out these plastic outlet caps as they get older.
This is the one downside of these electrical outlet caps. They can be likened to a plastic cover which provides immediate protection, but they may be easily removed within 10 seconds.
#3 Try Out Sliding Outlet Covers
Another way to baby-proof electrical outlets is to use sliding outlet covers or self-closing outlet covers.
In terms of safety, these are 100% safer than plastic plugs!
They were designed to replace the existing outlet cover by covering regular electrical outlets. They have a plastic barrier you can slide into place when you use the outlet.
This outlet cover prevents the insertion of foreign objects into exposed outlets, which in turn avoids electric shock or burn hazards.
These electrical outlet covers require a bit more work than the plastic ones, as you would need a screwdriver to replace existing outlet covers with these ones.
But, trust us when we say they are SUPER simple to install!
Jambini Self-Closing Baby Proof Outlet Covers
These electrical outlet covers from Jambini blends with most standard outlet covers, which doesn’t impact the overall look of the house and, at the same time, ensures electrical safety.
However, they are a bit more expensive than the plastic ones, so you can opt to use a mix of plastic ones and sliding outlet covers.
The advantage of sliding covers is that you don’t even have to touch the wires behind the outlet plate to install them, even for wall outlets.
Indeed, a baby-proof house is possible!
#4 Get Some Outlet Shields
Another way you can baby-proof these electrical sockets and avoid electric shock is using outlet shields.
It literally covers ENTIRE electrical outlets to make it look like there weren’t there in the first place.
It is also easy to install as it fits right on top of an existing outlet!
Safety 1st OutSmart Outlet Shield
This outlet shield from Safety 1st is perfect for safeguarding empty outlets, and it can also be painted to match the color of the wall.
However, one possible downside is that a wall outlet that is nearer to the ground can be discovered.
#5 Opt to Use Some Outlet Boxes
Curious how to start baby-proofing occupied outlets? An outlet box is the answer!
Yup, it sounds pretty weird, but they’re as straightforward as they come. These baby-proof electrical outlets are encased inside a box.
It’s simple, yet effective!
If your little one is especially curious, we recommend you look for an outlet box with a two-button release system.
Outlet boxes might not be best for people who are a little short on space, as they run bigger.
Wappa Baby Safety Outlet Cover Box
This outlet box from the Wappa Baby Store boasts an ingenious double lock mechanism that is easy for adults to open and difficult for our little ones.
If you want some peace of mind for both occupied and unused outlets, then this one is for you!
It also fits most electrical plugs given its spacious interior, and it comes with all the hardware you need, such as screws for fastening, standard electrical plate, and decorating the plate.
It’s SUPER easy to install, too!
These outlet boxes are often used to protect outdoor electrical receptacles. It has room for both the electric outlets and even the plugs of some electrical devices.
Babyproofing Power Strips
Why do we need to baby-proof power strips?
Like outlets and cords, power strips can pose electrical shock and electrical burns to your little one.
Power strips are always on the ground, and for a little kid, everything on the ground is basically a play toy!
Given the numerous electric appliances we use in our homes, it’s inevitable that we will have at least one or two power strips. This calls for more baby-proofing!
#1 Use Some Power Strip Covers
Like an electrical outlet cover, this one is generally made of plastic, and they’re literally a gift from above.
They make it IMPOSSIBLE for toddlers to insert foreign objects into the power strip outlets.
Safety 1st Power Strip Outlet Cover
We absolutely adore these power strip covers from Safety 1st. The cover slides over your existing power strip and has a cutout or a slit for you to insert your cords.
Of course, the cutout is designed to be able to fit the largest of cords, which may leave a gap for our curious little ones to insert their hand or finger.
PRO TIP: If you find a gap, simply place duct tape over to prevent your child from inserting something not supposed to be there.
This power strip cover will ensure that even with an electrical appliance that needs many outlets and cords — such as a desktop computer — your house can still remain baby-proof.
Have we mentioned that this power strip cover can also transform your power strip into wall outlets instead?
That way, there is less hazard for your kids to encounter loose cords and an empty outlet.
Another thing why we like this is that it has an adjustable size for all types of outlets and cords. PLUS, it also has a neutral color that can easily blend into most walls and floor colors.
Why Are Electrical Outlets and Cords Dangerous for Babies?
While they may seem harmless at first, electricity and babies don’t go well together.
This is one of the most BASIC principles of parenthood.
It is well-known that electricity can pose real dangers, but just how dangerous are they to our little ones?
DID YOU KNOW: According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 24,000 children got admitted to the emergency room over a ten-year period because of an accident involving electrical outlets.
When you think of it, that’s almost seven children every day, and 89% of those are under six years of age. It’s pretty terrifying when you realize that’s a LOT of kids in one day.
And every year, thousands of children suffer from severe electrical shock and burns after sticking foreign objects into outlets. Terrifying.
What About Occupied Outlets?
Did you know that occupied outlets are even more dangerous than empty outlets? They look more fun for our little ones as they have something to unplug.
There is a tendency for our little one to pull the cord, unplug the electrical device and then try to plug it again themselves or insert something else in the socket.
It’s pretty mindblowing if you ask us.
Even used outlets are still a risk hazard, especially if your little one likes to poke their hand at things!
We’re telling you, children can chew and choke on electric cords. More than curiosity, little arms can often reach more than we think.
Generally, any cord that is longer than 7″ can become a potential choking hazard to our children.
It’s a general rule that we don’t put cables or cords or other electrical equipment where people would walk; otherwise, they might trip.
The same goes for baby-proofing our homes!
We need to avoid putting cords near where our little ones often are, or we’ll risk getting them into trouble!
What to Do If Your Child Gets Shocked by Electricity
1. Disconnect the Power Supply
The first thing you should do is to turn off the power supply the child has touched.
Pull off the plug or turn off the main light switches or power bars.
Our bodies are also conductors of electricity, which means there is a chance of you getting shocked too if you touch the child who is still receiving current.
Never touch a live wire with your bare hands!
Remember, you don’t want to get yourself electrocuted too. Pick up a live wire with a newspaper, thick clothing, or another non-metallic object.
2. Move the Child Slowly Away From the Current
At this point, we don’t know yet how much current they have received.
It is possible that they have received a severe electric shock that might have caused a spinal fracture.
Remember to not panic and keep a clear mind, as this will help you perform necessary first aid if the situation calls for it.
3. Perform First Aid
Once the current is off, and the child is now in a safe place, quickly assess your child’s condition.
Check the child’s breathing, pulse, skin color, and alertness.
If the child is not breathing or you can’t detect any heartbeat, perform CPR immediately and ask someone to call for medical help.
If the state is non-critical, check for external wounds such as burns.
4. Call 911 or Your Local Emergency Number
A child who has received shock or even some burns would need medical attention to professionally assess the effect and to give appropriate treatment.
Again, we won’t have an idea of the possible internal damage the child has received from the shock, so it’s still better to be safe than sorry.
5. Prepare for Effects of the Shock/Burn
Some effects of electrical shock or burn can last for a few days after the incident.
The best thing to do is ask the doctor about the possible side effects of the incident and how to address them.
As parents, we need to be prepared for ANYTHING that can happen, and we need to be knowledgeable of what to do when it comes to our child’s safety.
For example, some mouth burns (from biting a live wire) can continue bleeding after the day of the injury. They are much deeper than they appear and would often require surgery.
In these cases, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t hesitate to ask your pediatrician what to do once something unexpected happens.
How Can I Teach My Kids to Stay Away From Outlets and Cords?
While it may be hard to do so, it’s not completely impossible, especially for older kids!
They can be taught to stay away from anything that might cause them risk, although it will still take time.
Learn About Electrical Safety Together
With all the different plug holes and extension cables around, we can’t really avoid having electrical receptacles around children.
What parents can do is teach children to avoid plugging things in and out of outlets. This can be done by watching videos about being safe around electrical plugs and other cords.
There are a lot of kid-friendly videos on YouTube that will make your little one understand that those things can be harmful to them.
Don’t Leave Appliances Plugged In
Of course, our little ones are curious and want to know what’s happening in that plug. As adults, we have the responsibility to minimize the risk for our little ones.
And that means being responsible for our use of electricity, too.
Keep appliances and other dangerous things in the bathroom or the living room away from babies! Avoid leaving these appliances plugged and on when not using them.
This would significantly lower the chance of our little ones getting curious about where the cords are coming from.
Another tip is to avoid plugging things in and out when our little ones are watching. This way, they won’t remember the location of the outlets, even if it’s a Decora outlet.
Don’t Put Colorful Objects Near Outlets
Fun and colorful things are attractive to our children, and putting them near hazards is an invitation to them to come nearer.
PLUS, putting things near outlets will make our little ones think that they are toys waiting to be played with, and we don’t want them anywhere near electricity.
KEEP. THEM. AWAY.
Provide Children With Supervised Opportunities
It’s true that the more we are prohibited from doing something, the more likely we are to do it.
And, the same goes for our children, especially since they don’t understand why we’re preventing them.
What we can do to address this situation is to provide them with opportunities wherein they could use electrical appliances, WITH OUR SUPERVISION.
Trust us, you don’t always need to lock the kids or put on a baby gate or fireplace screen. After all, they’re not going to stay kids forever.
And that’s a wrap!
We hope you learned a thing or two from this guide about keeping your children safe from all things electrical. To keep your babies safe from a fireplace, you can read our guide on that as well!
With the right products and guidelines, you have one less thing to worry about in your home.
November 17, 2022 – minor content edits