Working from home is a great option for many parents because it allows them to combine childcare responsibilities with a career or to be close to their children while they are growing up. But if you’ve got small children, it’s important to make sure your office is safe. Babies and toddlers can get into the least-expected places, so here are some top tips for childproofing your home office.
Safeguard your equipment
Cover keyboards and printers when they’re not in use to avoid them being damaged by spills and sticky fingers, and if you have a shredder keep it out of reach altogether. You can use safety straps to secure electrical equipment so it doesn’t get pulled down accidentally.
Little ones find keyboards strangely fascinating. Make sure you password-protect your computer when you’re away from your desk so your curious offspring can’t destroy your important files if they get their mitts on them!
Place important documents out of reach
Every parent has a story to tell about the chaos caused by a spilt drink or over-exuberance with a felt-tipped pen. Some paperwork and documents, such as receipts or contracts, might be difficult to replace if they get ruined. Put papers on a high shelf or lock them away in a filing cabinet so your children can’t get to them.
Lock drawers and cabinets
Children love to explore – and that includes rummaging through drawers and cabinets. Those neatly-filed-away documents could end up strewn across the floor if you’re not careful. Use magnets or locks to secure drawers. Also, toddlers will grab on to things to balance themselves, so make sure cabinets and large storage units are secure so they can’t be easily toppled.
Beware sharp corners
Go round your office checking the corners of all your furniture and equipment. If any are sharp, try putting them against a wall where they will be out of harm’s way, or invest in some corner cushions. Better still, purchase equipment without sharp edges.
Protect sockets and hide cables
Use socket covers to protect unused electrical outlets so children can’t insert their fingers into them. Cables can be another safety hazard, and they’re easy to trip over regardless of your age, so hide them behind desks or other furniture if possible, and use cable ties to keep them tidy.
Keep office supplies safe
Tape, glue, batteries and printer ink may seem innocuous enough but in the wrong hands they can be dangerous. Other supplies such as rubber bands, staples, paperclips and drawing pins can be choking hazards for children. That’s why it’s essential that you keep all office supplies out of reach of little ones.
Create a children’s office
Safety gates and play pens enable you to keep babies and toddlers away from potential dangers. But for slightly older children one of the best ways to keep them out of your office space is to give them their own. If there’s room, create a mini office area for them in the corner of your own home office so you can still monitor them while you’re working. A small desk with drawers for their art and craft supplies will help to make them feel involved in your work – and distract them from your side of the room.
Posted by Julie Tucker