How to Child & Pet-Proof Your Office

 By Diane Tait

Whether you’re back to working in an office building or are working from your home office, making your workplace safe for visitors of all shapes and sizes should be a priority.  When it comes to kids and pets, while the pitter patter of little feet or paws can be a source of delight, it can also represent a source of danger.  Being a business owner who routinely brings my pets to the office means keeping them safe from all sorts of hidden perils, not to mention keeping my staff and visitors from coming into conflict with them. 1.    

      1.      How low can you go? – Offices are full of expensive electronics. If you want to keep them in one piece, you need to store these things high enough where tiny hands, claws, paws and teeth can’ get at them.  Don’t think that just because your laptop is atop your desk that your wee ones can’t get at them.  All it takes is a few seconds for a pet or child to scamper from the floor to your desk chair to gain access to everything on your desk.  

 2.      Wiry Coyote – Even if you put your laptop in a locked desk drawer, don’t forget that both kids and pets love to pull on wires and cables. I once had a dog the size of a small coyote pull my desktop printer onto the floor by tugging on the wires.  Cats and pups have even been known to teethe on wires.  The only way to secure wires is to zip tie them together to remove as much slack as possible and use duct tape or gaffer’s tape to prevent pets and children from tugging on exposed wires.

 3.      Watch where you store chemicals? – Speaking of office printers, you’d be well advised to keep toner cartridges under lock and key if you know what’s good for you.  While toner isn’t toxic, it can pose a health risk if inhaled or swallowed.  Printer toner is similar to dust or talcum powder in that if disturbed it tends to waft into the air.  Inhaling the stuff or getting it into eyes can irritate either.  So too can the mess you’ll be forced to clean up if a toner cartridge is opened and its contents are spread around your office.  Obviously, the same consideration must be taken with cleaning solvents and other chemicals you store around your office.

4.      They aren’t too sharp. – Need I remind you that kids and pets love to play with pens, pencils, rulers, scissors, staplers and other office supplies.  While you may consider most of your office supplies not sharp enough to do any harm, remember that tiny hands and teeth can quickly dismantle most of the gear in your office into components that are small enough to swallow.  That means moving anything that can be fallen upon or ingested into a locked drawer or cabinet. Another hazard you need to deal with are sharp corners on furniture.  The best ways to remove this risk is to either cover the corners or push any sharp edges against the wall. Also make sure you unplug the office shredder whenever kids or dogs are in your place of business.

5.      Shocking, isn’t it? – Need I remind you to secure are all your electrical outlets with child-proof covers?  This could mean purchasing power strips that come equipped with  protectors that greatly reduce the chances of electrocution.  It also means keeping everything from forks to paper clips under lock and key to preclude a tyke from sticking anything metal into an electrical outlet.

 6.      Got Pets? – Even though your dogs have never bitten a soul, if they’re startled or their tail should accidentally be stepped on, even the most well-behaved pooch is apt to snap. Better to keep them secured in your private office or leashed to your desk anytime you have visitors.  It’s also a good idea to prevent them from wandering at will through the office to prevent one of your employees from stepping on or tripping over them. 

 7.      Got kids? – Just as with pets, kids can cause mischief, especially when they get bored.  If you take your tots to the office, it’s best to put them someplace where they’re least likely to get into trouble or interrupt the smooth flow of commerce.  Sometimes this means putting them in the break room or an unused office.  At other times, it means setting up a play area nearby so you can keep an eye on them while they play.  Wherever you decide to keep them while you work, make sure they have things to do to keep them from getting bored.  Also, make sure you don’t leave them alone for too long.

8.      Furniture Follies – Kids and pets love to climb on things.  This represents several kinds of hazards.  Falling off or having a piece of furniture fall on top of a wee one is no laughing matter.  To reduce the risk of either occurring, you need to make sure that furniture is secured and low shelves covered to keep tiny hands, feet or paws from gaining purchase.  This may entail blocking access to the lower shelves by strategically stationing potted plants in front of a bookcase.

9.      Escape Artists – One of the biggest perils to kids and pets is the possibility of getting lost by getting out of your office.  All it takes is a momentary lapse of concentration on your part to find out that your wee ones are nowhere to be found.  Unless you make sure that children or pets are secure, you may come to realize how easy it is for them to get loose in your office building or onto the street.  Just as with office supplies and chemicals, the only way to make your office is truly child and pet-proof is to keep the doors locked while they’re around.

Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance.  To find out more about how you can save money on insurance, go to her site or fill out the form at right.


  1. This is even more poignant now that COVID has made people spend a lot more time with their kids.

  2. When my son was young I caught him taking apart a keyboard and stopped him from putting the parts in his mouth. Child proofing also mean watching them.


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