The Safe Home Office
Have a home office, Mama? Consider these safety measures having to do with items specifically found in the home office, as noted in the book The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Healthy Living.
Prevent Electrocution, Burns, and Fires
Here, too, you should protect all open electrical outlets with
outlet covers. The temptation to overload electrical circuits and
overuse extension cords may be greater in the office than elsewhere. For the safety of the entire household, resist the temptation. If you
need to use an extension cord, be sure to use one that is rated for
the amount of watts that will be consumed by the devices you are
using. (Add up all the wattage used by each piece of equipment
and make sure the total is less than the capacity of the extension
Consider using surge protectors that have built-in sensors to
detect a short or an overload that could start a fire. Also consider
an extension cord or wall adapter that provides GFCI (ground fault
circuit interrupter) protection similar to what is now standard for
outlets in bathrooms and kitchens. Get covers for all the power
strips and surge protectors in your office. These plastic covers are
like tunnels that encase the power strip. There is an opening at the
top for cords of all sizes to come through, and on some cord covers,
a latching door enabling you to access the on-off switch without
taking off the entire cover. Once in place these covers are a
challenge for even adults to open. Just keep in mind that nothing
is entirely childproof.
You desire a child-friendly office, so your child will be able to
play there. When he’s still in a play yard that’s no problem, but
when he starts crawling, look out! He’ll want to play under desks
and tables, and you don’t want to say no to everything. However,
a desk or table that has electric wires under it offers no safe space
for a child.
As in the kitchen, hot beverages should be kept away from the
edge of a desk or table. Use a spill-resistant mug, just as you would
if you carried your coffee to work on a long commute. To maximize
the probability that your child stays out of harm’s way in your
office, designate a safe area in a corner as her play area, or use a
playpen. Remember to take frequent breaks so she can leave the
playpen or play area and move around under her own steam in a
safe environment. These periods will aid her development and,
you may discover, enhance your own productivity.
Guard against your child’s spilling liquids on such equipment as
your computer, monitor, or printer. To be on the safe side, turn off
these devices when they are not in use, and cover monitors, keyboards,
towers, and printers. This is especially important if you get
caught up in multitasking—easy to do at home.
Excerpted from The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Healthy Living, Expanded and Revised by Debra Smiley Holtzman, reprinted with permission from Sentient Publishing, 2009.
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