Create a Child Friendly Home Office
A home office can be a dangerous place for a child. Even forbidding a child from entering it doesn't guarantee their safety. To a child, a forbidden office place can be a place to secretly explore. Of course, you can lock your office at all times and never let your child enter it even when you're in there working. But, if this isn't a realistic option for you, there are several things you can do to make your office more child friendly.
Identify Potential Dangers
The first step to creating a child friendly office is to look at everything in it from a child's viewpoint. This can mean squatting down or crawling around to a child's level to see what might interest them and what could hurt them.
Cords and Wires
Cords and wires are a part of a home office and there's no way to get around them. You need them to connect printers, monitors, scanners, faxes, and other equipment together or to electrical sources. But the wiry mess they create can pose a hazard to both children and adults. Adults can trip over them while moving around the office and children will be tempted to play with the "wire nest."
The easiest way to fix this problem is to tape wires and cords to the edges of the room along baseboards. Wires that can't realistically be taped down can be contained with wire covers.
For some children bookcases look like the ideal monkey gym so it's crucial you secure them to the wall. This way if the bookcase will not fall on your child should he or she decide to climb it. Don't forget to secure desktop monitors so a child won't be tempted to pull it down. Brackets work well for this.
Small Office Supplies
Small office supplies like tacks, paperclips, staple removers and staples can easily be swallowed by a small child and cause internal injuries. Ink and toner cartridges also pose a danger since they're poisonous and can look like candy boxes to a small child. The bright colors of colored inks and toners can be especially appealing to a young child. These items as well as scissors and letter openers should be locked in a cabinet or in your desk where a child can't reach them. Do this if your child is in the office with you and whenever you're finished your work.
Like the rest of your house, use outlet plate covers in your office to protect children from possible electrical shock. Outlet plate covers are attached to the wall like a standard outlet cover and slide closed when not in use.
The Paper Shredder
These paper slicing machines are very dangerous for children of all ages. They also look fun for curious older children who know what they do and might want to shred their own paper. But the potential for injury is very high since a child can easily get his or her fingers caught. Some children might be tempted to remove a paper jam with their fingers and end up losing a digit. Shredders should be turned off and unplugged when not in use. As an extra safety precaution, lock up the unit when not in use.