Childproof Your Home Office To Keep Your Kids & Your Business Safe

by WorkFromHome on September 19, 2011

Today, many Americans are opting to work from home to eliminate long commutes as well as to enjoy time with their families. If you have young children, though, you know that while having your kids nearby can be a joy it also can be a nightmare if small fingers find their way into electric outlets or your important client papers. Read on for some of the best ways for you to childproof your home office:

Safeguard Your Equipment

You may not see your computer keyboard, fax machine, printer, calculator or other basic office machines as equipment in need of protection, but just one spilled juice box can be all it takes to destroy your computer’s hard drive or frazzle a fax machine. An easy fix for most of your home office equipment is to use covers to keep them safe when you are not busy working at home. There are a number of different straps to secure covers so that they cannot be accidentally pulled off by curious children.

Like many professionals your home office likely is outfitted with a paper shredder sturdy enough to destroy plastic credit cards, thick documents and even papers that have been stapled. Being able to securely dispose of confidential data is essential in today’s workplace, but the sharp blades on these machines can be dangerous for your children. Unplug your paper shredder when you are not using it and, if you can, keep it out of your children’s grasp. Many home based professionals keep theirs in a closet with a childproof door.

Store Your Supplies Wisely

Just putting your rubber cement, super glue, scissors, ink and rubber bands in a desk drawer is not enough to keep them safe from intrepid and curious children, or to keep your children safe from them. Even seemingly innocuous paper clips can quickly become a choking hazard if a toddler decides that he or she wants to find out if they taste as good as the shiny silver color looks! Some of the other potentially dangerous office supplies which should be kept out of your kids’ reach:

  • Tape
  • Eraser caps. This is particularly true for brightly colored cap erasers which may resemble your kids’ favorite candy treats.
  • Glue sticks
  • Staplers and staple removers
  • Batteries

Remember, even if you keep your home office in a separate area of the house than your family’s living areas, it only takes one absent minded moment to leave the door open and even less time for your son or daughter to start gluing his or her fingers together.

Use Creative Ties And Covers To Keep Your Kids Safe

There are some items that you may not be able to keep out of your kids’ immediate reach, such as your office’s trash can or electrical cords which plug into wall outlets which are only a foot or two from the ground. Your trash can may be filled with the refuse generated while you are working from home but to a young child it is a treasure trove filled with mysterious items, such as empty ink cartridges, dried up pens and used staples. Upgrade your office garbage to a container with a lid that fastens securely to keep these potentially harmful “treasures” out of your children’s reach, even if your garbage can sits on the floor.

Electrical cords and outlets also present a challenge. If possible, locating your outlets and cords behind office furniture can reduce the risk of both electrical and tripping hazards. If you cannot, though, do not worry as there are a number of creative ways for you to keep your home office functional and your children safe. Reduce tripping hazards by bundling electrical cords, as well as LAN and phone cords, together and taping them down on the floor. Extra long cords can be secured with zip ties or Velcro fasteners. Wall outlets not in use presently should be plugged with safety covers, as should power strips, to keep small children from playing with them.

What To Do With The Space Nearest Your Children

Now that you know what you should keep out of the drawers and shelves closest to where your children are playing, those spaces might be rather bare. If you plan to allow your children to play in your office on a regular basis, though, these areas are the ideal location to store your kids’ favorite toys, puzzles and coloring books so that your kids can help themselves while you are working from home. Remember, though, art supplies like markers, paints and crayons, though non-toxic, can still be wielded to stain your carpeting, color your office and home walls and even graffiti your work documents. Keep them out of reach to avoid these unpleasant scenarios and safeguard both your home office and your children.

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