our everyday life

How to Childproof a Desk

by Kathryn Walsh

An adult's domain is endlessly fascinating to a child. Your desk, whether it's a rickety table in your home office or the behemoth at company headquarters, will get your child's attention at some point. He'll want to climb up in your chair to play grown-up, and once there, he'll be within reach of dozens of potential dangers. Even if your child doesn't make frequent visits to your desk, ensuring that it's a safe place for him to explore can prevent worry for you and accidents for him.

Arrange your computer and all other devices with electrical cords so the cords run down between the desk and a wall. If your desk sits away from any walls, enclose the cables with wire guards or cable clips, either of which will help prevent a little one from getting tangled in cords or pulling a heavy object down onto himself.

Anchor the desk to the wall or floor, suggests the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). You may skip this step if your desk is too sturdy for even you to pull over, but if it's any lighter, your child could overturn the desk while trying to climb it.

Replace any power strips with covered power strips that children can't access, suggests Consumer Reports. Replace your office's traditional outlet covers with sliding covers that snap shut when a plug isn't in use.

Look through all the desk drawers for sharp or dangerous objects. Collect scissors, tacks, staples, utility knives, tools, medications, highlighters or anything else that could harm a curious little one. Store all these items in a locked desk compartment out of a child's reach or move them somewhere else in the office.

Remove your paper shredder from your desk, if you have one. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CPSC, shredders pose serious risks to young children. Store your shredder in a place where it's out of reach, like a high closet shelf, and only pull it down when you're actively using it.

Install safety latches on all desk drawers within a child's reach, which keep him from accessing your files and injuring himself on sharp drawer edges. Attach edge and corner guards to the desk if young children are frequently near it.

Password-protect your computer so a child can't turn it on without your permission. If you're using a desktop and have a curious little one, consider unplugging it and locking up the keyboard and mouse when you're not at your desk.

Replace breakable picture frames on your desk with plastic versions. Remove framed pictures from nearby walls, since a child who climbs onto the desk could reach these frames and pull them down.

Clear your desk of important items when you're not using it. Store your pen cup and paperwork in one of your latched drawers when you're away from the desk.

Items you will need
  • Electrical cord covers and cable clips
  • Furniture anchors
  • Covered power strips
  • Sliding outlet covers
  • Safety latches
  • Edge and corner guards
  • Plastic photo frames

Tips

  • Drawer latches might be unnecessary if your desk drawers lock; however, there's always the risk you'll forget to lock a drawer and your little one will find his way inside. Consider installing safety latches anyway, or hang a brightly-colored note near your office door that reminds you to check whether the drawers are locked before leaving the room.
  • Once a child reaches toddlerhood, he's old enough to follow some rules about your desk. Teach him that the desk is not a place for him to play and that food and drinks are never allowed near the desk. You might even make a rule that he not touch the desk unless you're there to supervise.

About the Author

Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images