It's high-end, but the Safe-Plate childproof outlet cover is a nicely engineered solution that might merit a place in one or two rooms of your house.
Welcome to the place where home improvement and childbirth meet...it's the latest category in our Reviews section: Childproofing!
For starters, we began looking into electrical outlet solutions last weekend while we were stroller shopping. (You'll have to look elsewhere for your stroller reviews...sorry.) It'll be quite a while until our kid is mobile enough for it to matter, but right now our outlets don't have any faceplates at all so it was kinda on our minds anyway.
Initially, we found a few non-descript options at our local Home Depot, but J had read several blogs and websites (such as Consumer Reports) that spoke highly of the Mommy's Helper brand so we decided to wait until we were at a proper baby store before we purchased anything.
Sure enough, upon making a trek downtown to the closest Right Start store, we found a wealth of baby-safe options to stop everything from kids drinking toilet water to little hands turning on the stove and burning tiny fingers.
"Man, you could leave a kid home alone all the time if you bought all this stuff," I remarked. The mother pushing her stroller by at the time didn't seem to approve, and Jeannie briefly acted like she was shopping alone.
Anyway, the store carried several products for protecting electrical outlets and Mommy's Helper did seem to be the stronger brand. We were especially impressed by their Safe-Plate, which is pictured at the top of this entry.
The Safe-Plate is a full replacement for an existing electrical faceplate. It sticks out from the wall about 3/4", which allows for a thin sliding coverplate. When you want to plug an appliance or light fixture in, you simply slide the cover over. When you later remove the electric cord the cover snaps closed again through an internal spring. Neat!
Like all obscure, clever inventions the Safe-Plate doesn't come cheap. In fact, for the price of just one Safe-Plate you could childproof 32 outlets using simpler outlet plugs (Note from J: Be careful which brand of plugs you purchase, because some can be a choking hazard if the kid gets them pried out of the socket.):
If you ask me this kid looks like he's about to figure out how to get the darn thing off, but I'm sure they work with most kids.
In the end, we decided to go with the cheaper outlet plugs but we did buy one Safe-Plate for the nursery. We're thinking it will be useful to have at least one outlet that you can easily plug and unplug regularly without having to remember where you put that little plastic plug.