Childproofing Your Home Office: Safety Tips for Work-at-Home Parents

Childproofing Your Home Office: Safety Tips for Work-at-Home Parents


C – Choking Hazards Store office supplies such as paper clips and rubber bands in locked drawers or out-of-reach cabinets. Keep your desk free of clutter. Loose change and pen caps can easily find their way into tiny hands and mouths. Even paper scraps can cause choking, so keep your trash covered and your floor clean.

H – Hanging Objects Window, phone, and lamp cords should be looped together well above your child’s reach. All of these are strangling hazards – as are power cords, which will be discussed further in the “electronics” section.

I – Ingestible Substances Keep ink cartridges and toner out of reach, and watch for other toxic substances such as White Out, wipe board cleanser, and other cleaning supplies.

L – Large Items Secure bookshelves, hutches, and heavy equipment that might topple onto a climbing child. Use filing cabinets with locks to prevent kids from opening drawers and setting the cabinet off balance.

D – Doors and Windows A home office is a tempting place for children, representing the off-limits and out-of-the-ordinary. As in other rooms of the house, door knob covers can keep small children from entering or leaving without your knowledge. Window latches can prevent falls. Even from a first-floor window, a fall can have serious consequences.

S – Sharp Objects In addition to being choking hazards, staples, writing instruments, and other sharp objects can cause cuts, eye injuries, and similar damage. Keep scissors, paper cutters, pins, and pencil sharpeners out of reach. Attach rubber bumpers to the sharp edges of office furniture.

A – Alarms Like any other room in your house, your home office should have a working smoke alarm and proximity to a carbon monoxide detector. (Your house should have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor.) If you use space heaters or extension cords, keep the cords out of children’s reach and leave them unplugged when you’re not in the room.

F – Fragile Items In your office, fragile items include not only breakable objects, but also equipment and important papers. Protect your child from harm and yourself from loss by removing or securing such items. Keep back-up copies of important documents, and cover office equipment when it’s not in use. Save books from damage by packing them tightly onto bookshelves to make it difficult for children to remove them.

E – Electronics Bundle power cords, and cover outlets that aren’t in use. Cover disk drives and other openings. Use screensavers with passwords if you’re children are old enough to use a computer.

When you work from home, you’ll no doubt find yourself sharing your office with your children at least occasionally. Childproofing will protect all of you from potential danger. You can safeguard your productivity by providing distractions for your children. An old or secondhand keyboard or some scratch paper and crayons can keep little fingers busy while you work. Avoid bringing too many toys into your office, as the clutter can itself become a hazard. For the safest working and living environment, maintain a separation between your office space and the rest of your home.

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