First, let’s just make it clear that nothing can be completely baby-proofed. It is scary to think that some people believe that their home is baby-proofed so well that they do not have to supervise children at all. Accidents can happen if children are not actively supervised. From gates across the stairs which children climb with ease, to pool alarms that don’t always function or get disabled because they go off at a drop of a hat, to incorrectly installed locking devices on cupboards: nothing can replace you (yes, you the parent/relative/babysitter) with regards to keeping children safe.
Having said that, when I was trying to baby-proof my house (which included a home-office) I found some great cable management products and systems to help make my house safer for my roving baby whom I swear was trying to kill herself everywhere she went. Here are some tips for baby-proofing cables and wires:
Remove excess slack on all electrical cords for floor and table lamps. I used plastic cable ties that I tied tight enough for the cable not to unravel if pulled apart but loose enough not to damage the cables. It is possible to lose signal or power if you tighten them too hard. Think about cables and wires as arteries; you would not want them so tight that you cut off blood flow to an artery. Don’t tie your wires and cables into knots; keep them contained but not overly tight.
When our baby was crawling and teething, we worried that she had enough strength and dexterity to pull a floor lamp electrical cord to her mouth and chew on it or to knock over the lamp. To prevent this, I moved floor lamps as close as possible to the outlets to minimize access to the cord. To keep lamps from being pulled over, it may help to place them behind a big piece of furniture such as a couch. If it wasn’t possible to move a lamp, I wrapped exposed the electrical cord in slit wire loom tubing (1/4” diameter is ideal) so the baby wouldn’t be able to chew through the electrical wire.
As a WAHM (Work At Home Mom), it was difficult to prevent the baby from crawling all over the home office. I wanted the baby with me in the office so I implemented full cable management under and behind the desks. Our baby was more attracted to the whirring computer fans and flickering router lights than her baby toys. Everything got bundled up in cable harnesses which kept things neat and out of the way.
The living room was modified as well. The small stand-alone TV unit became a thing of the past. We opted for a flat screen TV that was mounted directly onto the wall for safety. A media cabinet with lockable doors kept the home theater equipment and other electronic components and dozens of electrical wires and cables accessible for adults but out of reach for children. Each cable and connector was color-coded and labeled for identification and potential future repair or upgrade.
If you have a TV, charging station or other electronic devices in the kitchen or bedroom, make sure to implement cable management here as well, or you may find your toddler sitting on your counter top one day or climbing up your dresser and trying his best to knock down that funny looking flat panel TV and hurting himself in the process. Make sure that you stay vigilant about supervising children anywhere that baby-proofing products are in use. You don’t want to become complacent or have a false sense of security around young, curious children. Implementing some of these cable management techniques makes it easier to keep children safe and brings you the extra benefit of an organized and neater bunch of cables and wires!