As a parent, you obviously want to do everything in your power to protect your children and keep them safe. For many households, there may be numerous potential hazards that could pose a risk to kids. Still, few parts of your home pose as great of a potential risk as your electrical system. With this in mind, here are a few simple steps you can take to help childproof your home from electrical hazards.
1. Use Covers on All of Your Outlets
Statistics show that approximately 2,400 children in the U.S. each year suffer from burns or electrical shocks from unprotected wall sockets. Most of these cases result from a child sticking something into the outlet, which is why it is important to keep all of your outlets covered when not in use. Installing outlet covers is a quick and easy way to help prevent your child from tampering with the outlet or sticking anything in it. But remember, outlet covers are only useful for outlets that you’re not currently using since your child could gain access to an outlet simply by unplugging a cord.
2. Replace Your Old Outlets With Tamper-Resistant GFCIs
Although outlet covers are always a good idea, you should also go one step further and replace any old outlets with tamper-resistant GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets. All homes built after 2008 are required to install tamper-resistant outlets during construction. Still, if your home is older than this or you haven’t had any electrical work done recently, you may still have the old type of outlet.
A tamper-resistant outlet contains two spring-loaded shutters that block off the openings. The only time that the shutters will open and allow access to the outlet is if both shutters are triggered at the same time (e.g., when you’re putting a plug into the outlet).
Tamper-resistant GFCIs add an extra level of protection by automatically shutting off the power to the outlet if any problem is detected. For instance, if there is a power surge or water gets into the outlet, the GFCI will instantly interrupt the electrical flow to the outlet to prevent electrocution, fire, etc. GFCIs are extremely sensitive and can detect even very small problems, which makes them essential for any home with children.
3. Inspect and Secure All Cords, Power Strips and Appliances
You should also make sure to regularly inspect all of your cords, power strips and appliances to ensure that they are working properly. Specifically, you should be on the lookout for any cords that are frayed or otherwise damaged since this could be a shocking hazard. If you do notice a frayed or damaged cord, you should immediately throw it away or have it professionally repaired. This not only includes things like power strips and extension cords but also the cords on all of your appliances, such as your toaster, hair dryer, TV, water heater, washing machine, etc.
In addition to inspecting all of your cords and appliances regularly, you should also make sure that all of your cords and appliances are well-secured to prevent your child from tripping over them, damaging the cords or hurting themselves. This means keeping all appliances safely stored out of reach and using things like furniture or cabinets to prevent your child from accessing cords and power strips.
4. Have Your Electrical System Inspected Regularly
Loose connections, damaged wiring and other issues can all greatly increase the risk of burns, electrical shocks and other injuries. They can also be a major fire risk. Having your home’s wiring and electrical system professionally inspected is the easiest way to prevent these problems. Nonetheless, you should also regularly inspect all of your outlets and appliances on your own to ensure they are working properly. It’s recommended to test all GFCIs, cords and appliances at least once a month. You should also test everything again immediately following an electrical storm.
Children are extremely inquisitive and it’s natural for them to be curious about everything in their home. This means that there is probably no way to ever fully childproof every aspect of your house. However, you now know some steps to take to safeguard from common home electrical hazards. Although it may take some time and potentially require you to spend a bit of money, it will be well worth it for the peace of mind you’ll get in knowing that your child is safe from some potential risks when it comes to electricity.
Call GVEC to Help Keep Your Home Safe From Electrical Hazards
If you need your outlets replaced, your electrical system inspected or any other electrical services, the fully licensed electricians at GVEC Electrician Services are always here to help. With locations in Seguin, Gonzalez, Schertz, La Vernia, Cuero and surrounding areas, we serve customers all throughout South Central Texas. We specialize in electrical wiring, lighting, solar panel systems and battery storage, and a whole range of other professional electrician services. For more information on childproofing your electrical system or any of the services we offer, contact GVEC Electrician Services today.