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Before you bring your first baby home, you must childproof your home. By doing a quick online search, expected parents will find thousands of baby proofing checklists, but few are exclusively dedicated to electrical situations.
We have come up with a specific electrical baby proofing checklist for all expecting parents. These projects are not only necessary, but vital to your newborn’s well-being.
Baby Proofing Costs
Unlike like most home remodeling projects, when it comes to your first child, few even consider overall costs. Nonetheless, with any home renovation (or alterations), costs do play a role.
According to our childproofing cost estimator, the average cost to prepare your home for a newborn is $473. Bear in mind, this price includes projects unrelated to electrical work such as window locks, cabinet locks, etc.
Baby Proofing: Electrical Checklist
As you might imagine, much of electrical baby proofing revolves around outlets. Whether they are in use or not, electrical outlets, especially on ground level, present a real danger to those crawling around. As such, there are a few childproofing devices homeowners can purchase for under a few hundred dollars. Given what’s at stake, I’d say the money would be well spent.
Even when kids are young, they can be afraid of the dark. Likewise, unlike you or I, young babies can’t turn lights on and therefore, need nightlights to crawl around should they escape the crib.
Some nightlights even come with a convenient on/off feature that turns on at sundown and off at sunrise. Others actually cover both receptacles to prevent tiny fingers from entering the unused outlet.
Child-Resistant Wall Plates & Outlet Caps
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Both child-resistant wall plates and outlet caps protect prying fingers from unused outlets.
Child-resistant wall plates come with a big cover that is easily acceptable by adults, but hard to open by young children. Babies may do their best to pry and attack this wall plate, but few, if any, will have luck opening it.
Outlet caps are just that; individual caps you put on each outlet. They are plastic covers that take a whole two seconds to install. They are not as effective as wall plates, but they certainly do the trick.
If you don’t want to change the design and look of your outlets, than tamper-proof outlets is the way to go. According to our friends at SheKnows, these safety gadgets use an internal barrier that only allow insertion of a property rated plug. Therefore, when your baby tries to stick a hairpin or their fingers in the outlet, no electrocution will incur.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
GFCIs protect your children against shock or electrocution by shutting off the power at the outlet when it detects leaking (like water) from the circuit to ground. Put simply, remember that tingle you felt when something wasn’t right? A GFCI would trip when something was wrong with the room (leakage) of an outlet and keep you and your child from getting electrocuted.
This is a simple fix, but always make sure there is a light bulb in every socket.
Kids don’t know better. They could chew or pull on extension cords. Not only is this a real danger to your child, but your personal belongings as well. Use cord holders to keep longer cords fastened to the wall. Additionally, this could prevent your baby from wrapping the cord around their neck.
If you do not invest in cord holders, make sure you unplug any appliance your baby can reach. This will prevent them from yanking on the cord or injuring themselves by pulling the appliance off the counter.
Other Childproofing Tactics
Besides electrical, there are many other childproofing tactics expected homeowners should look into:
- Corner bumpers for sharp edges and furniture
- Staircase gating to restrict access to certain parts of the house
- Hardware cabinet locks to prevent injury or poison
- Toilet seat latches to prevent drowning
- Video monitoring cameras for safety measures
- Audible alarm system to know if the child has reached a dangerous area
When it comes to your newborn, this is not a minor safety hazard. All must fully childproof their homes to ensure a safe and healthy household. For more baby proofing advice, please see Remodeling & Baby Proofing Your Home.