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More on baby-proofing - electricity safety
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Debbie made a good comment that we had also heard from a couple at one of those classes we attended from our home-study agency. The concept of intentionally leaving a cabinet or two unlocked (usually where you keep your tupperware or other safe to play with stuff). The couple at the class gave a great quote on why this is good for the child. As they put it, it gives them a chance to feel "...that they're able to put one over on the Man."

One of the things I've realized during my research of safety items is that there really isn't just one best in class product. Different products do different things well (and not so well). Plus a lot of these safety devices have different effectiveness over the age range of the child. Our house is relatively new construction and as such has a plethora of electric outlets in each room (not to mention cable and ethernet outlets, but thankfully those are not a safety hazard). So we're using a number of different types of electrical safety plugs. The first is the old fashion simple little plastic ones that just plug into the socket. Now before anyone jumps up and down saying those are choking hazards (and they are), there are places and times where those cheap ones do work. But it is important to remember that they are choking hazards if your little one gets one out and tries (as they do with EVERYTHING) to put it into their mouths.

However, we have a number of plugs that are in areas where our little won't be playing or won't have time to try to work them out of the socket (hallways, etc.). And the key is time, that is time to work those things out. They are designed to be a little bit wider than the actual plug openings in the socket. And as such, fit in snugly, actually very snugly into the socket. They are pretty difficult to take out and require a little bit of time to do so. I would think this is why you would rather buy these things new and not from a garage sale or get them hand-me-down. The constant taking in and out, I think, would lessen their ability to fit snugly so it's best, again in my opinion, to use these in places where you have an outlet but don't really use it. In our house there are plenty of outlets that in five years of living here we've never used (nor probably ever will). And that's the best place for them. Outlets that they won't have access to and ones which you don't use.

But you shouldn't trust those things enough to use them in a room where your little one will be playing (or sleeping) or even for outlets that are in use or used often. First because they can pull out a cord and thus expose the outlet and second because you may take it out to use the outlet and forget to put it back. So for his room, our family room (currently filled with his toys), and a few other places where he'll have constant access we've chosen to go with the full outlet covers. There are actually two types that I'm using.

One is the swivel outlet cover (about $3.50 for a two pack) that in essence replaces the wallplate you have now. They have springs in them that automatically close off the plug holes when not in use (or even if the little one pulls out a cord plugged into them). They're nearly impossible for little ones to manipulate the concept of pulling back the plug (to open the hole) and then put their finger in. So these are ideal for places where you have electric appliances plugged into a socket or use the outlet often or the kid's bedroom. I've actually bought both the Safety 1st brand and the Kidco brand and find them both to be very good.

The other kind of outlet cover (about $2.00 for a two pack) is better for outlets that are constantly in use (for lamps, etc.). These have a large container like that snaps onto a plate that replaces the standard wallplate. The large container can hold some rather large plugs (or even extra cord from the appliance) but won't be able to handle a large transformer (you know, those big rectangular boxes that most computer speakers or florescent lights use). They are extremely with a capital "E" difficult to remove and are not good for outlets you need access to often, but that drawback makes them very good for outlets with appliances already in use that you won't unplug often.

The other thing I've bought was sort of a new and improved plug type. It's like the cheaper plugs but harder to get out and has the added benefit of being attached to a plate that is screwed into the wallplate. So unlike the cheaper plastic plugs it cannot come off and become a choking hazard.
posted by Steveg @ 11:47 AM  
  • At 4:13 PM, Blogger Cristina Warner said…

    OMG. I feel so incompetent. We have outlet covers on those our son can reach and a guard against entering under the sink in the kitchen. And a gate guarding the stairs from upper to lower level. Your little ain't gonna pass anything over on you!

  • At 11:08 AM, Blogger Debbie said…

    I never realized those plastic covers are a chocking hazard. We have some in now and I'm constantly not putting them back on.
    I have never seen the replacement covers with the swivel. Those make a lot of sense. Have you checked out the covers for the power strips. I don't remember if those cover up the transformers or not. We'll probably get one for the computer and TV.

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I'm Steve and this is my wife Stefanie. This is our story, mostly seen through my eyes, of the journey to create our family by adopting a child from Russia.

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