As a parent, you are always concerned about home safety for your children, especially the youngest members of the family. You block entrance to rooms, move breakables to higher ground, and limit access to cabinets. However, when it comes to lighting a child’s room, safety issues are often overlooked……adults forget to think like a child when selecting lighting.
Because light involves both hot bulbs and electricity, precautions need to be taken to avoid accidents. Put safety first when selecting lamps and fixtures, not just color, theme or design. Juvenile lamps are cute, but many are not safe to use with small children. Here are tips and guidelines for safely lighting your child’s room:
- Choose child-friendly lamps that they can easily adjust, turn on and off, and still keep their hands away from the bulb. They should be easy for small hands to operate.
- Lamps should have a weighted, sturdy base that is not easily knocked over. If necessary, it is possible to attach the base to the furniture for added security.
- Lamps should bear the UL seal indicating they have been tested and proven to be safe.
- Always have old lamps professionally rewired if it is to be used in a child’s room.
- Avoid floor lamps in a child’s room. They tip over easily and may look like play equipment to a small child.
- Test clip-on fixtures before purchasing to make sure they fasten securely to a surface.
- Ceiling and wall fixtures are the safest to use in a child’s room but must be securely fastened and properly shaded to protect the bulbs from breakage.
- Keep all flammable materials (bedding, curtains, paper products) away from lights. Mount at least 18” away from these items.
- Understand that any hanging item is a potential hazard in a child’s room.
|Weighted base, great for nursery or teen room||Weighted base, wide shade, easy to reach switch for small kids|
Bulbs and Wattage
- Always check labels to find out maximum wattage for the fixture and strictly adhere to these recommendations. Many lamps only allow 60 watts or less.
- Some lamps burn hot to the touch, especially if they are plastic. Test the fixture before purchasing.
- Do not use halogen lamps in a child’s room. They get extremely hot and could cause serious burns.
- Halogen bulbs can be a fire hazard. Touching the bulb with a finger leaves oil that damages the surface and can cause the bulb to explode.
Cords and Connections
- All frayed and exposed wires should be replaced – no exceptions here which means no tape!
- Cords should be gathered, covered or secured to the furniture or wall using cord control kits or wire reels to keep them away from small hands.
- Outlets not in use should be covered with special outlet covers.
- Box outlet covers can be used for oversized plugs.
- Power strips can be secured with covers especially made for multiple plug units.
Think like a child when selecting lighting for your child’s room. Kid’s are naturally curious and want to touch things, plus they want “to do it themselves” as they get older. Get down on the floor and look at the room from their level, especially noticing the plugs, cords and access to freestanding fixtures on higher surfaces. Most importantly, remember lamps are electric, so take the necessary precautions needed to provide a safe and kid-friendly room.
Other topics in the Kids’ Room Safety Series are:
- Safety Features of Baby Cribs
- Safety Features of Kids’ Room Furniture
- Safely Lighting Kids’ Rooms
- Kid-Friendly Bathroom Safety Features
- Safety Features of Kid-Friendly Kitchens