Children are naturally inquisitive, but this is a double-edged sword. Kids enthusiastically explore the world and spend almost every waking hour learning, but these explorations can be incredibly dangerous, and countless tragedies have occurred when children have tried to find out how things work.
If your home is now noisy with the pitter-patter of tiny feet, or if you’re inviting a friend and their children round to stay for a while, you will need to childproof your home. The following advice focuses on childproofing a household’s electricity supply, so you can avoid electrical home emergencies, but you will also need to consider how to make your boiler, heating appliances, furniture and everything else in your home child-safe.
Should you fit socket protectors on electrical outlets?
Children – for an unknown reason – seem compelled to put their tiny fingers or small objects into plug sockets. Socket guards – available for pennies at DIY stores and baby-proofing stores – dissuade children from playing with plug sockets, and some say they should be used on all unused outlets.
However, British plugs are relatively difficult for children to electrocute themselves with – the plug only becomes ‘live’ when a pin has been pushed into the top opening.
We received this response from Fatally Flawed to this webpage:
- It is completely impossible for even the smallest baby to put a finger into a socket.
- All British sockets, by law, are fully protected against the insertion of objects which are not plugs!
- No responsible “childproofing experts” recommend the use of socket covers, the only people who do are those who sell them!
“Socket covers, unlike plugs and sockets, are completely unregulated, and not one is actually the correct size to be safely inserted into a socket,” FatallyFlawed co-founder David Peacock added.
So socket protectors might actually be a waste of time and money!
Check electric leads for damage
Kids love chewing things, and unfortunately electrical cables are no exception. This can cause the leads to become frayed and damaged, and can lead to appliance breakdowns and potentially cause a child’s electrocution. Regularly inspect all the electric cables in your home, and throw out any that show signs of damage.
Make cables hard to access
Checking for damage and fitting socket protectors will make most electric outlets safe, but some cables – such as those that fit into computers – have push-in plugs that connect to the back of the appliance.
Children can remove these cables and put them in their mouths. Rearrange rooms and move appliances around so children cannot reach their back, and lock doors if possible. Consider running leads behind heavy items of furniture and buying computer desks that are difficult to access from the back.
Turn off electrical items at the wall and unplug them if possible
Kitchen appliances should be turned off at the wall and kept well away from children’s reach – remember that kids can be prolific climbers, especially in kitchens! In bathrooms, any electrical appliances such as shavers and hairdryers should be unplugged when not in use and kept in high places. Make sure that electrical items are kept well away from sources of water.
Make some rooms out-of-bounds
Garages, for example, should be completely blocked off so children cannot reach them. Don’t assume a locked door is enough to childproof a room, of course – keep electric devices unplugged and unreachable when not in use, regardless of how difficult you think the room is to get into.
Know what to do in electric home emergencies
Keep a fire extinguisher that is suitable for electric fires and a first-aid kit on-hand, and know how to use them in an emergency. Learn how to cut off your electric supply and how your fusebox works, and keep a list of emergency phone numbers in your mobile phone. For your own safety, it’s a good idea to keep this emergency contact list next to the landline, and tell children who to contact in the event of a home emergency.
Still having trouble?
Don’t attempt to make any changes to your electricals if you are unsure or not confident. Some electrical work in the home requires compliance with Part P building control and needs to be done in accordance with BS7671 wiring regulations. Don’t forget – electricity is VERY dangerous and can kill you.
Instead, call 24|7 Home Rescue on 0345 3192 247 and we can help. Our technical teams will run through some very simple troubleshooting with you over the phone to see if your problem can be resolved easily and if not, they will book one of our qualified and highly knowledgeable Part P certified engineers to get you back up and running as soon as possible.