Babies love all things electrical: cords, outlets, power strips, electronics, etc. If you haven’t already, you’ll definitely want to invest in some outlet covers and other babyproofing items to keep your child safe. Because most homes have so many outlets and electronic devices, many parents become quickly overwhelmed. The good news is that this step is (usually) easy and relatively cheap once you figure out what to buy. Let’s dive in.
Outlet covers do exactly what their name implies; they cover an outlet so that little hands and toys can’t reach in and possibly get electrocuted. The key here is that the outlet covers must stay in the outlets in order to be effective. This sounds obvious, but some outlet covers are so hard get on and off that parents tend to forget to put them back in, leaving a potentially dangerous outlet wide open. So before you just buy a multi-pack of the cheapest covers available, be sure to consider what will work best for your family.
Generally, outlets fall into one of three categories: rarely used, often used or constantly plugged in.
Outlet Covers for Rarely Used Outlets
If you have outlets that you don’t really use, your best bet is to get some basic, cheap outlet covers. You don’t really need to worry about how hard they make it to access the outlet, because you won’t be using it anyway. The basic Mommy’s Helper Outlet Plugs (~$3 for 36) are cheap and effective. However, be aware that these are also choking hazards and should not be left lying around the house.
- Low price point
- Super simple installation
- Considered choking hazards if dislodged from outlet
- Can be difficult for adults to pry off often-used outlets
If you want a bit of an upgrade, the Safety 1st Deluxe Fit Outlet Plugs (~$4 for 8) are a bit easier to take on and off, and are not considered a choking hazard for your child if they are accidentally left around.
Outlet Covers for Often Used Outlets
For outlets that you are frequently plugging things into, you really don’t want to have to yank out one of the cheap covers every single time you use it. In this case, I recommend the Mommy’s Helper Safe Plate Electrical Outlet Cover (~$11 for 3). These plates require you to slide the cover to the side to access the outlet. It’s easy for an adult to do, but very difficult for a child. Bonus: super easy to install; just unscrew your current plate cover and screw in one of these.
Outlet Covers for Constantly Plugged-In Outlets
It’s likely that some outlets in your house are in constant use; likely for items such as televisions, appliances, lamps, etc. The first thing to try for these outlets is to block them with sturdy furniture that won’t tip over. Even if you have to throw off the alignment of your room a bit, it’s worth it; this solution is free and effective.
If blocking the outlets isn’t an option, the Twin Door Outlet Box (~$13 each) works well.The box blocks the outlet so that your child can’t pull the cord out. Just unscrew your current outlet plate, screw one of these in, and you’re ready to go. The downside of this option is that your kid is definitely going to be interested in this giant box sitting on your wall. If you’re lucky, they’ll realize it’s boring and move on eventually, but if your kid is persistant enough, they might be able to pull this off the wall.
Cords are annoying as-is, but they become even more annoying when you have a teething baby that’s trying to eat every cord in your house. Try to hide the cords as much as you can. Tuck them behind furniture, under a rug, or wherever your baby can’t reach them. If you can’t hide the cord completely, you’ll need to find a way to tack the cord down so that prying fingers or teeth can’t get a hold of it. There are tons of solutions for this; I recommend first hitting up Home Depot or Lowe’s with a description and photo of what you’re trying to do and see what they recommend.
If you’re stuck, here’s a couple of things that have worked well for me.
I like the CordMate Kits (~$10) for easily tacking down small wires to the walls or floor boards. These use adhesive and are super easy to install. Be sure to buy the model appropriate for your cord diameter.
The Low-Profile Rubber Duct Cord Cover (~$30) is great if you have a thick cord that runs along the floor. This is a super sturdy, heavy piece of rubber that will keep the cord hidden without creating too much of a tripping hazard. No installation required, but you will probably want to set it out in the sun for a few hours after you get it to ensure it lies flat.
I want to throw in a quick note here about lamp cords. Lamps are nearly impossible to baby proof. They are easily tipped over,and the cords are usually within easy reach of children. You might need to put your lamps away temporarily until you feel comfortable that your child won’t knock them over on themselves.
I’m going to be honest, it is really hard to babyproof power strips. To the extent possible, try to hide these out of reach. If you can’t hide, them, try the Safety 1st Power Strip Cover (~$10). This cover works with most power strip setups, accommodating a wide range of power strip lengths and plug types. It’s clunky and takes a little bit of effort to get on and off, but it does the trick. The opening is large enough that small fingers or objects could get inside, so you should still put covers over any unused outlets on the power strip.