When it comes to electricity in the home your kids’ safety has to be your number one concern. The contemporary home is a showcase of wonders but it also presents myriad dangers for children that simply didn’t exist a century ago. Those dangers include the garbage disposal, the blender, the electric toaster, overloaded power strips, electric kettles, lose wires, exposed wires, heavy lamps in awkward locations and much more. It’s imperative that parents purge the home of as many potential disasters as possible. As residential electricians will tell you this is nowhere more important than in the kid’s room.
Stop Thinking Like a Child
All too often when they are picking out lights for their child’s room parents try to put themselves in their kids’ shoes. “Oh she’ll love that one! I know I would have when I was her age.” While it may be true that their little girl or boy would fall head over heels for a particular novelty lamp the more important considerations have to do with how the lamp was made and whether or not it presents a safety hazard.
Remember, hundreds of children receive serious electrical shocks each year in Canada and several are electrocuted. With that in mind safety must be the overriding concern when it comes to choosing fixtures for the kid’s room. Electrical contractors suggest you adhere to the following guidelines when selecting such fixtures:
- Make sure they are bottom heavy – A child’s lamp should always be weighted toward the base. This way it is not easily knocked over. If possible you should also consider attaching the lamp to furniture with screws or bolts.
- All lamps should be certified safe – Any lamp you purchase for your child’s room should carry the Underwriter’s Laboratory Canada (ULC) seal or be certified by the Standards Council of Canada. No buts.
- Use LED lights whenever possible – LED lights represent nothing short of a revolution in lighting technology. Not only are they incredibly energy efficient and long lasting but they present no fire or burn risk because they don’t get hot. Ever.
- Make sure any lamps are kid-friendly – The on/off switch should be easy to access, large and simple to use.
- Avoid using floor lamps – Floor lamps should never be used in a child’s room. They tip over too easily.
- No halogens – Halogen lamps produce incredible amounts of light but they also get incredibly hot. A halogen bulb has no place in a child’s room.
Regarding Power Cords
- The power cord must be intact – Avoid using any older lamps with frayed power cords or cords that have tape covering exposed areas.
- Multiple cords should be secured – If there is more than one power cord in a single area of the room residential electricians suggest you bundle them up, cover them or affix them to furniture or baseboards.
- Cover unused outlets – Any outlets not in use should have safety covers affixed over them to prevent children from sticking things into them.
- Same with power strips – Any power strips must be ULC certified and any open outlets on those strips must be covered in the same way and for the same reason as unused wall outlets.
Don’t Forget Mother Nature
Most residential electricians suggest that when lighting a child’s room you should strive to bring Mother Nature into the mix.
- South-facing windows – It’s important for a child’s room to have large windows that will let in plenty of natural light if possible. South-facing windows do the best job of that. The light that comes through south-facing windows tends to be soft and warm and particularly beautiful on sunny mornings.
- East or west-facing windows – These tend to let in harsh, direct sunlight either in the morning or afternoon. This is often too much for a child’s young eyes. If the windows in your child’s room face either direction you should consider investing in shades that can filter out any direct light.
- North facing windows – Artists love north-facing windows because they never allow direct sunlight into the room to mess up color perception. But when it comes to kids’ rooms north light simply won’t be enough. If your child’s room has north-facing windows you’ll need to provide additional artificial lighting, perhaps even during the day.
LED Strip Lights
We mentioned LED lights earlier and they should be mandatory for any kids’ room these days. They provide glare free light, are incredibly energy efficient and don’t get hot. So you never have to worry about your child burning themselves on a bulb. They can also be used to augment the natural light in the room in a simple and effective way.
Installing LED rope lights in the ceiling is a great way to keep the light levels up in a naturally dingy room and at night provide a soft reassuring light for young ones who may require it. Creating a two-tier ceiling is easy to do and the rope lights can be tucked away in the recess to provide a soft ethereal glow in whatever color you choose. Your local electrical contractors can help you with this.
Change the Lights with the Child
Remember that kids grow up incredibly fast. Today they may have completely different ideas about what’s cool, what’s desirable and what they want and need for their room than they did just a year earlier. So it pays to keep your eyes and ears open to their needs and adjust them as they grow. The superhero lamp that may have lit their fire last year may be both outdated to them and insufficient to meet their more intensive study needs this year.
In addition, when the time comes to update the lighting in their room take them along with you to the lighting store or let them shop online with you and pick out what they want. Rather than trying to impose your tastes on them your role will be to make sure the lamp they choose is safe and practical and doesn’t have poor quality wiring or use incandescent bulbs.