Over the past year, many of us have had to swiftly convert parts of our living space into makeshift offices in order to work from home.
Setting up a home office can be challenging enough as it is, but when you’ve got young children around there are a number of risks you need to consider.
Cables, stationary, desks and even piles of books can be a potential hazard if precautions aren’t taken.
Read our eight tips below to learn more about what you can do to keep your children safe at home.
Head to our home office guide for advice on choosing the best office chair, desk and tech, as well as tips for staying healthy while working from home.
Store items out of children’s reach
Keep office equipment on high shelves or cupboards that are beyond your child’s reach to help avoid accidents.
Even small stationary items such as pens, paperclips and staples can be a choking hazard, so are best kept away from little ones.
Batteries, especially small button batteries, are dangerous and even fatal if swallowed, so make sure they are securely stored away and dispose of old batteries properly.
Lock drawers and cupboards
If you have drawers and cupboards lower down that your child is able to reach, keep them locked or use a safety latch.
This will prevent children from getting hold of any potentially dangerous items inside and avoid injuries from trapped fingers.
Cover and secure loose cables
Cables can be an electrical, choking and trip hazard, so it’s important to ensure there are no loose cables trailing across the floor.
If it’s not possible to move your electrical equipment closer to the plug socket, you can use Velcro ties and tape to secure the cables out of the way to help prevent accidents.
See our reviews of the best smoke alarms that will help to keep your family safe at home.
Choose wireless office equipment
You can reduce the number of cables and wires around your home office by opting for wireless equipment such as a mouse and keyboard.
Ensure furniture is stable
If you’ve got furniture such as bookshelves and filing cabinets in your home office, make sure each item is stable and secured to the wall where possible, to reduce the risk of it tipping and hurting your child.
Similarly, avoid piling unsteady stacks of books and folders that could topple over.
Use corner protectors
Office furniture such as tables and desks may have sharp corners.
Corner protectors are cheap, easy to fit and can help protect young children from hurting themselves if they fall.
Tie up dangling blind cords
If you’ve got blinds in your home office, tie cords up using a cleat hook. This prevents young children from getting tangled up in loose dangling cords, which can be a strangulation risk.
According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust, if a young child’s neck is constricted, they can lose consciousness in as little as 15 seconds, as their windpipe is narrower and softer than an adult’s.
For more advice on how to prevent strangulation accidents, read our seven lifesaving baby and toddler first aid tips.
Keep your office door locked
Never leave young children in your office unsupervised and if possible, lock your office door to prevent children wandering in and out, or alternatively buy a stair gate to place in the doorway.
Take a look at the top five stair gates that have impressed in our tough safety tests.
And if you can’t block off your office space and have children or pets underfoot, always check behind you before you push your office chair back to avoid any accidents.