How Do You Baby-Proof Your Electronics?

Illustration for article titled How Do You Baby-Proof Your Electronics?

Over the holidays, my son learned to crawl across the floor. The first thing on his agenda? Motoring across the carpet to get a closer look at the blinking lights of my dad's stereo receiver.

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As I plucked him up, wiped the drool off the knobs, and reconfigured the equalizer, my wife reminded me that I had not yet addressed our own electronics at home—and that we had a ton of work to do once we got back.

Before I invest hundreds of bucks in a lot of "solutions" that will surely have mixed results, I wanted to ask the Gizmodo readers what's worked for you. I have at least four basic problems (so far) that I need to address.

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  • Outlets and surge protectors. There are a ton of products on the market for this potential hazard. I need to keep the outlets useable, so a solid cover is not an option. I'm looking at cord-corralling tools like this Kidco cover and (maybe) a surge protector cover like this "Mommy's Helper" model. Are either any good? Anyone have a recommendation?
  • The Blu-Ray/Roku/modem/router shelf. Using a repurposed carpenter's workbench, my TV sits on a sturdy tabletop at roughly a 30-inch height, and the supporting gear is on an open shelf at just about eye level with a baby on the move. I could relocate that stuff to a high, less ideal position on the top shelf with the TV. But is there any other option? Cordon off the electronics? Find a way to secure them in their current positions? The extending tray on the Blu-Ray player will be broken off as soon as he learns how to pop it out.
  • Loose cords in general. What is so fascinating about power cords and charger cables? The fact that they fit in his little fist? Whatever the attraction, we've already had a charging iPad nearly yanked off a tabletop. An auxiliary cable leading to dad's stereo was a contant lure. This is a big problem, since there's an obvious strangulation risk, and since so much gear could be instantly damaged. (PS: Why do all the outlets have to be so close to the floor?)
  • Smartphones and tablets. Kids are fascinated with screens. We don't plop him in front of a TV, but we use an iPad to FaceTime with the grandparents. So he's already exposed to the technology—and he already wants to grab hold of it. How have you managed a kid wanting to get his little fingers on these small, expensive devices? Swaddle it in a case with a screen protector? Sacrifice an outdated older phone to the playpen? Spring for a dedicated kid gadget that's cheaper than this new Acer?

I'll stop my list there. Those have been the biggest questions I've had so far. But I know I'm leaving some key things out. If there's one thing parenting has consistently prepared me for, it's the expectation that I went into the next phase of it not as fully prepared as I should have been. So you tell me—what else should I plan to do—what should I buy, sell, or otherwise change to baby-proof the electronics in my life?

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Image credit: Aliaksei Lasevich / Shutterstock.

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DISCUSSION

Just-a-guy
Just-a-guy

To keep my sons from disturbing the components, I had the local hardware store but me pieces of Lexan from their scrap pile in sizes to fit the shelves. Since my media center uses metal riders between the wood shelves, I was able to just stick magnetic tape onto the Lexan. kept sticky fingers off the components, but clear Lexan allows the remote's IR signals to reach just fine. Magnets allow quick access to DVD and VCR when needed (yea, that dated myself)

If you don't have metal, just stick the magnetic tape on the frame of the cabinet (you need to orient the tape opposite to the tape on the Lexan.

Served about 4 years while the two boys were going through the "touch everything" stage.

As for outlets, we just stuck the ugly plastic covers on them.

Network gear is installed on a shelf between the drop ceiling in the basement and the floor of the first floor. Signal is fine and nobody knows where the network components are. (^_^)

Phones and tablets - they are simply out of bounds and left out of reach of small children.