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3 Questions for Your Home's Electrical Safety With Kids

Having kids changes everything, especially the way you see the world. When you once looked at your Xbox, PlayStation, and vintage Nintendo 64 system and saw hours of entertainment, you now see a dangerous tangle of cords and a hazardous outlet overload. Where your unmounted flat screen used to be the coolest part of your home, it's now a dangerously heavy object that could tip onto an unsuspecting head at a moment's notice.

If you worry your house has turned from the home base for your coolest gadgets into a minefield for small fingers and toes, don't panic. Your home might not be as dangerous as you think - and if it is, it's easy for you and, if necessary, an electrician to make some simple changes that will protect your kids. Read on and use the questions below to decide what changes you need to make around the house.

1. How Safe Are Your Outlets?

Each room in your house has at least one outlet near the floor, but depending on the room's size and the home's age, several more low outlets could be in the room. As an adult, you didn't worry about these outlets except to sigh in annoyance when they were too far away for your laptop charger to reach, but now, you may see each one as a spot where small fingers can get a sharp shock.

First, cover any outlets you aren't using with plastic caps. While you can easily pry these caps out of the wall, they should be too snug for babies and toddlers to grip. Inspect your outlets carefully before you cap them - most outlets installed after 2008 are already baby proofed and don't require caps for further protection.

Second, consider installing plug covers that cover both the plug and any connected cords. Otherwise, your children can pull out the cords and fiddle with the plugs all they want. You can also find baby-proofed power strips that conceal the actual cords and plugs so babies can't tug them out. If you choose one of these, you'll still need to safeguard the outlet connected to the power strip.

2. Do You Turn Devices Off and Store Them Correctly?

You can't leave your Blu-Ray player, gaming console, or amp on the floor anymore - your baby can easily break the device or quickly transform it into a fire hazard by pulling on the plugs. Invest in sturdy shelving units that will keep the devices well out of your baby's reach, or simply find a new, safer place off the floor where you can run your entertainment devices.

Be careful where you place and use larger electrical appliances, too. Hopefully your washing machine and dryer are already in a safe spot you can easily keep your toddler away from, but if not, do your best to move them into a safer area.

You should also never run electrical appliances overnight - if the appliance sparks a fire while you're home and asleep, you could be caught in a dangerous situation. Update any old electrical appliances that could pose a fire hazard.  

It goes without saying that you shouldn't keep any electrical appliances near water, especially the bathtub and sink, where your child could tip them in. Also, if you blow dry, straighten, or curl your hair in the bathroom, unplug the appliance immediately after use and keep it well out of reach until it's cool enough to store.

3. Do You Need Professional Help?

While you can take care of minor electrical issues and problems like safe device storage on your own, some issues are too big for homeowners to tackle. If you encounter a larger problem like an out-of-date electrical system or fire hazard, don't hesitate to contact a professional electrician. They have the experience to safely upgrade your home and offer further electrical safety tips for your family.

If you live in the Richmond area and need electrical help, Family Electric is here for you. Read our blog to learn more about your home's electricity, and don't hesitate to get in touch if you need a repair.

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