Best Baby Proofing Electrical Cords
How to Childproof Your Lamp Cords
How do you hide electrical cords?
Does your enthusiasm for electronics have you living in a jungle of cords? Given the sheer volume of wires that dwell in a modern home, figuring out how to hide TV wires and cords and cables for other must-have gadgets can be frustrating. But before you hit a point of swearing off technology altogether, check out the cord management solutions below. You can buy or DIY to disguise or hide every wire in sight and permanently improve the organization of your home.
How do I child proof my TV?
1. How do I stop my plug from being unplugged?
Dangling cords disappear quickly when you anchor them to the silhouette of the nearest furniture. To do so, adhere clear Command Cord Clips (available in medium and large sizes on Amazon) along the back edges of your furniture. Like most of the line of renter-friendly solutions from 3M, you’ll need to press the clips in place for 30 seconds and, an hour later, you can hook in one or more cords and have them run neatly down the legs of your console. (These hooks help hide charging cords and cables at your desk really well, too!)
2. What age can you baby proof?
If you’re feeling a bit craftier, you can hide a tangle of cables behind a stand-mounted TV by incorporating built-in cord storage into the design of your DIY TV stand. This one designed by Heidi from Kruse’s Workshop (and featured on Tatertots & Jello) keeps cables contained in a notch that runs down the middle leg at the back of the unit. You can recreate the stand from scratch with reclaimed wood: Follow the blogger’s detailed instructions for how to use a table saw to create a recessed groove in the back leg, then run the cords for your TV and other entertainment essentials down the groove in the leg to keep them out of sight.
3. How do you baby proof a coaxial outlet?
If the cords dangling from your wall-mounted TV are distracting you from what’s on screen, conceal them with cord covers (e.g., SimpleCord Cable Concealer Kit, available at Amazon). Plastic tracks like these mount directly to the wall on top of wires.
To install and effectively hide TV wires, measure the span of wall between the base of the screen and the floor—that’s how the length of cord cover you need, and you can often cut to fit. In the case of the Cable Concealer Kit, you’ll cut the base and top of the cord cover using a hacksaw. Then, mount the raceway base to the wall with screws according to the manufacturer’s instructions, lay the TV cords inside the channel, and snap the cover in place over the top. Cord covers are typically sold in neutral colors like white or metallic gray that can stand out if your wall is a different color. But when painted the same color as your wall (using latex-based paint), they seamlessly blend into the space.
4. Run TV Wires Behind the Wall
The best solution for keeping the cords of a wall-mounted TV out of sight involves hiding them behind the wall itself using recessed cable plates (e.g., Datacomm Cable Organizer Kit, available on Amazon). Remove the TV from the wall (or move it aside if your TV has an adjustable arm), and then use a stud finder to find two stud-free sections of the wall: one behind where the screen would sit, and another further down the wall near an outlet. These are where you’ll make your cuts using a utility knife, fit two cable plates, and feed the TV cords in and out of the wall. Your guests may just mistake your new media setup for a wireless entertainment system!
5. Tuck Cord Chaos Into Tubing
Can’t manage the melange of cords in your home office for PCs, monitors, phones, printers, and other devices used daily? A cable wrap (e.g., Cable Slinky, available on Amazon) provides an easy way to consolidate all the loose cords that dangle from your desk. Simply bundle them together in your hands, and wrap the two-foot-long pieces of flexible foam tubing around the wires to corral them into one larger one and minimize chaos. Thanks to the slinky shape, you can break out and redirect wires from the group anywhere along the stretch so that they can reach exactly where they need to go.
6. Slip Them Into a Drawer
Making a few creative modifications to a desk drawer can do away with the eyesore of a clunky power strip parked on the floor and overflowing with cords. With a hole saw bit attached to your power drill, drill a hole into the back panel of the desk drawer located near a wall outlet. Then, feed the power strip cable through the hole and use double-sided adhesive to mount the back of the power strip itself to the same drawer panel. As you plug electronics into the power strip, create a space for each gadget to rest while it charges in the drawer, just as home blogger Jenny Steffens Hobick does in her kitchen cabinetry.
7. Snake Them Through Baseboard Accessories
Eliminate the tripping hazard of an ethernet cable running the length of your home office, living room, or bedroom by adorning existing baseboards in the room with baseboard cord channels (e.g., CE Tech Round Baseboard Cord Channels, available at The Home Depot). The self-adhesive, impact-resistant cord channels are little more than hollowed-out sections of plastic quarter molding. To mount the channels to your baseboards, peel off the adhesive backing of a channel, press the back of the channel against a baseboard, and then run an ethernet cable—or any other cord, for that matter—through the opening in the channel to simultaneously hide and protect the cables from damage. Stainable and paintable, the baseboard cord channels can be dressed to match any interior design aesthetic.
8. Stash Wires and Routers In a “Book”
Your router or modem (or router-modem combo) can appear out of place almost wherever you fit them, but especially so on your shelves. Consider bookending your home library with a DIY router cover using this tutorial from BuzzFeed’s Nifty team. Grab a binder that’s wide enough to fit your router and use hot glue to cover the back, front, and spine of the binder with colorful scrap fabric, or better yet, the real jacket of an old book. Slip the router upright inside the binder, then sandwich the binder vertically between some books on an end table, desk, or shelf so that the router cables discreetly run down the length of the wall behind the furniture. Voilà! An instant classic that cuts cord clutter.
Whether you like it or not, electrical products form a major part of our everyday lives. You can find them in every room of your home. Power outlets, extension leads, phone chargers, computer cables… The list goes on. Unfortunately, none of these electrical products were designed with your baby’s safety in mind.
Okay, let us do some basic kiddie math…
Baby + Electricity = Disaster
When looking at how to baby proof (or “child-proof” if you don’t like calling your little one a baby) your home, you must consider everything and anything that is electrical because, as you may have noticed, electrical products and your baby just don’t mix.
Fortunately, I have created this awesome guide to assist you in baby proofing these shocking (yes, it’s a pun) objects.
What do you need to baby proof? Select from the contents below
Now let us get on with the guide!
Baby Proofing Electrical Outlets
I don’t know what it is about electrical outlets, but baby’s love them. Maybe it’s because they see you plugging in an appliance and want to imitate you. Maybe it’s because outlets look like little faces, just waiting to be fed something.
Those faces are hungry and ready to be fed a meal of coins, keys and anything else your baby can squeeze inside.
Ever heard of the electric chair? Zap! If your baby puts an object in a power outlet then the result will be similar; serious risk of electric shock. You definitely do not want to rush your child to an emergency room because they have been electrocuted.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 2,400 children suffer from severe shock and burns caused by items being poked into the slots of electrical receptacles. Even more worrying, approximately 12 children will die from these injuries each year.
As you can see, electrical outlets are dangerous… But wait! Before you run out and buy baby proofing products, you need will need to take a closer look at the outlet you have installed and why it matters.
Hiding behind your outlet cover is a receptacle. This is what the electrical wires screw into. Essentially each outlet in your house will be one of the following:
1. Regular electrical Receptacle
A regular electrical receptacle. If you look at the vertical slots you will notice that they are open, allowing your baby to poke objects inside. If your house was built prior to 2008 and you have not renovated then chances are you will have these installed.
Since your baby can poke things into this outlet; it will need to be baby proofed.
2. Tamper Resistant Receptacle
You may notice that the vertical slots on this receptacle appear to have been filled in with plastic. These are actually spring-loaded shutters that close off the openings to the contacts. The only time these shutters will open is if they are pushed simultaneously (as in you plugging something into the outlet). Since your baby won’t be able to compress both openings at once he will be unable to poke anything into the outlet.
All new houses built after 2008 will have tamper-resistant receptacles (also known as TRR’s) installed as standard, as required by the National Electrical Code. If you have renovated after this date then the electrician may have also replaced your outlets.
In addition to the plastic filled vertical slots, TRR’s can also be identified by the letters “TR” engraved between the two vertical slots. If you look closely at the above picture you may just be able to make it out.
As you may have guessed, this style of electrical outlet does not require baby proofing.
Okay, nearly there.
Only one last thing to identify.
Whether your outlet is a standard or Decora style. This is important as it determines which baby proofing products will fit your outlet. You don’t want to buy a baby safety product only to discover it doesn’t fit!
Fortunately telling the two styles apart is dead simple.
Standard electrical outlet
Decora electrical outlet
The key difference is how the outlet cover attaches to the receptacle. The standard style uses a screw (seen between the two outlets) while the Decora simply clips into the cover. If you have a GFCI power outlet, then for the purpose of baby-proofing; consider it a Decora outlet.
So before we continue you should be able to answer the following two questions:
- Is does the outlet use a Standard Receptacle or Tamper Resistant Receptacle.
- Is the style of the outlet standard or Decora?
With those two questions answered it’s time to start baby proofing your electrical outlets.
Baby proofing empty electrical outlets
An empty electrical outlet is an outlet that has no appliances plugged in. These outlets are just sitting there, tempting your baby to poke something inside. Fortunately baby proofing these outlets is not only cheap but incredibly easy to do. The most basic solution is the electrical outlet cap.
Electrical outlet caps
The first and cheapest way to prevent your child from sticking objects in electrical outlets is to buy a packet (or more if required) of child-proof electrical outlet caps. These covers are entirely made of plastic and plug directly into your electrical outlet. The exposed front is entirely flat, making it difficult for your child to grip. If your baby can’t poke anything inside, then he is safe. It’s that simple.
The only downside of electrical safety caps is that you will need to remove them every time you need to use the electrical outlet, such as when you are vacuuming. If it slips your mind to put the plug cover back into the outlet when you are done, the baby proofing effect is lost.
You will need to count out just how many outlet caps you need before you commit to buying a packet (they are generally cheaper when bought in bulk). Don’t forget to count unused power strip outlets when figuring out how many you need.
Let us take a look at two of the better outlet caps on the market.
What can I say about these outlet caps? They are cheap and keep your baby safe. These caps go in and stay in. The flat face makes these caps incredibly difficult to remove (for you as well).
A pack of 36 should not set you back more than a few bucks. Isn’t it great when you can baby proof on a budget?
Unfortunately, the small size does mean that these caps can easily be misplaced. The size coupled with just how difficult they are to remove means that these caps should not be used on an electrical outlet you plan on frequently using.
Outlet plugs that are easier to remove
These outlet plugs are a little easier to remove than the previous ones making them more suitable for baby proofing outlets that you find yourself frequently using.
Another advantage is that these plugs will easily fit any GFCI outlets. The downside is that these plugs are a little more expensive. That’s the price you pay for convenience.
Don’t like outlet caps? Let us take a look at some other options you have for baby proofing open outlets.