Take preventative measures against electrical mishaps to ensure the
safety of your family
Young children love poking fingers, pens, and keys into electrical receptacles. It’s easy and inviting,
given receptacles are so close to floor level. Over a thousand children, most four years old and
younger, get treated each year in emergency rooms for injuries from playing with receptacles,
according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Organizing multiple electrical cords behind computers and electrical systems benefits children and adults by keeping wires neat and
One approach is a plastic tube-type product that encases multiple cords in a neat grouping and away from small hands.
Another product encases cords in a hard plastic container and winds them up so a cord is less of a tripping hazard.
Self-adhesive plastic cord covers enclose single wires to both protect and hide them.
The oldest preventative measure is inserting plastic plugs into unused receptacles, but newer
products are available to maintain safety and allow easier use of receptacles. Some completely cover
receptacles and the cords plugged into them. Others protect fingers from a plug if it’s partially pulled
out from a receptacle. For a modest cost, you can retrofit any or all of your receptacles and protect
your children from shock and burns.
Securing Loose Wires
Although not as protective as using cord covers or casings, taping or binding multiple cords together with wire twist ties will make
individual cords difficult to pull at or chew on.
Use adhesive-backed wire clips or screw-in cable clamps to secure wires to baseboards.
Replace any frayed or worn cord for the family’s safety.
Don’t leave plugged-in kitchen appliances unattended when young children are present.
Cords are another attraction, especially when babies are crawling. Cord organizers are available
for multiple cords (sound systems, computers and peripherals, etc.) as well as protective coverings
for cords running along baseboards.
One of the safest actions you can take is to have your electrician install switch controlled
receptacles. Your receptacles are controlled by a wall-mounted switch the same way a ceiling light is
control led Unless you’re in the room to monitor your children, the power can remain off.
Power Strip Safety Cover
Power strips that feature multiple outlets have safety covers available, allowing all cords to be safely plugged in and inaccessible to
These covers also work for surge protectors.
These are not only a safety device but also prevent curious children from yanking all the plugs out of a strip.
Check that the cover you’re buying will fit your power strip—there is some slight difference in size among the available covers.
No amount of protective devices can replace an attentive parent or guardian. Like cabinet
latches and safety gates, these devices are a big help but only supplement a watchful adult.
Secure your electrical area as best you can but understand the limitations of the hardware and
devices you install.
The most basic outlet covers are traditional plastic plugs that insert into a receptacle; they’re effective and inexpensive but must be
removed before use.
Some covers allow one or two cords to be plugged into the receptacle while preventing them from being touched.
Another style uses a sliding mechanism to cover the receptacle—it moves aside when a plug is inserted.
One high-tech cover accepts plugs, detecting them with sensors before allowing electricity to flow to them.