Parents' Guide to Baby Proofing Outlets and Other Electrical Dangers Around the Home

Between 2000 and 2018, there were 459 reported child deaths resulting from the tipping over of an appliance or piece of furniture.

Such events are only part of the danger that faces young children around the modern home. Electrical appliances, bathroom fixtures, and garden machinery all pose huge risks to our vulnerable young family members.

These kinds of tragedies can be avoided if you know what steps to take. Baby proofing outlets is a must if you have a new baby in the house.

Read on as we look at the steps you should be taking to keep your child safe around the house.

What Is Baby Proofing?

Baby proofing is any step you can take as a parent to make your child's surroundings safer.

This can be something simple, such as moving heavier counter-top appliances back against the wall rather than close to the counter's edge where a child might pull it down on themselves.

The basic requirement when it comes to baby proofing is awareness of your surroundings. You need to keep an eye out for those things that pose risks to your child, especially less obvious dangers.

One such danger comes in the form of electrical outlets. While, as adults, we barely register these as being dangerous, a curious child could suffer serious harm if they put something into an outlet and get electrocuted.

Why Is Baby Proofing Outlets Important?

Electrical outlets pose huge dangers to children. While no electrical current passes from them under ordinary circumstances, a child might be able to conduct electricity from the outlet if they were to put something into it, such as a coin or key.

Electrical outlets are challenging in this regard because so many of them are positioned close to the floor. This places them in the direct field of vision of a crawling toddler. Being naturally curious, children often attempt to interfere with outlets.

In fact, many parents have noted that their young children have a particular fascination with electrical outlets. Why this is, we cannot say for sure. However, it makes the job of baby proofing them all the more important!

Existing Safety Features in Electrical Outlets

An important first point to note is that not all outlets are the same. Designers of more recent electrical outlets took far greater care to make these safe for children.

If your house was built more recently than 2008, your electrical outlets will have something called a tamper-resistant receptacle (TRR). These were made a requirement in new builds by the National Electrical Code.

This mechanism means that they are not live unless something is plugged into them. Obviously, these are a lot safer than older outlets without this feature.

A Guide to Baby Proofing Outlets

There are a few different approaches that you can take to the baby proofing of outlets. The most suitable method for you will depend on the kind of outlets you have at home.

Types of Electrical Outlet

There are two broad types of power outlets that are used in American homes. These are known as "A" outlets and "B" outlets.

A-outlets hold two prongs, while B-outlets hold three. The two most common outlet types in American homes today (GFCI and AFCI) are both types of B-outlets.

Plastic Outlet Covers

Plastic outlet covers are the easiest solution for your outlet baby proofing needs. 

Made of durable plastic, the covers take the shape of normal plugs and have prongs that fit into sockets.

Simply place the cover into an unused power outlet and leave it there. For extra security, consider placing a piece of furniture in front of the outlet, especially if it's in an area that your baby crawls around in a lot.

Make sure you buy the right type of cover for your wall outlets.

Other Baby Proofing Steps You Can Take

Electrocution is possibly the deadliest threat that your little ones face around the home. However, there are a host of other dangers you should be aware of as well.

Your Stairs

Stairs are an obvious danger for children of all ages. Falling down a flight of stairs could be fatal for a baby.

To prevent this from happening, install a gate at the bottom of your stairs. This will keep children off the steps, at least until they're old enough to figure out how to work the latch!

Throw Rugs

When your child starts learning to walk, you want to create as safe an environment as possible for them. Rugs can easily slip and slide around a wooden floor, causing a hazard.

To counter this risk, put down non-slip mats under your rugs.

Table Corners

Everyone remembers banging their head on the corner of a table as a child. It might not be deadly, but it's certainly very painful.

More severe impacts could also cause a serious cut or bruise.

To mitigate this risk, consider putting table corner guards on your furniture. These pieces of plastic stick onto the corners of tables and other furniture, ensuring that your child is protected from this everyday hazard.

Keeping Your Little Ones Safe

What's safe for adults can be highly dangerous for young children. While we all know this to be true, it can be difficult to keep our young ones perfectly safe at all times.

For this reason, baby proofing outlets is of vital importance. You'll never be able to keep your baby safe from all the bangs and scrapes they'll have around the house, but if you neutralize the more serious threats, you'll minimize the chance of their suffering a truly serious injury while they're exploring their surroundings.

If you have a question about something from our baby safety line or anything else that we stock, contact us today.