When I started baby-proofing, I immediately zeroed in on the power outlets. But I ignored the telephone jacks. I haven’t had a landline in years, and thinking of them as just data jacks, I thought they were harmless.
Wrong, as my electrical engineer father-in-law pointed out. Those plain old telephone jacks carry 50 volts DC. They aren’t digital, but analog. They used to power phones even if the power was out.
And my apartment had a telephone jack right above the baby’s sleep area.
My dear wife kept complaining, repeatedly, over a span of about two weeks, that Sebastian was looking at the telephone jack right above his head, and was starting to reach for it.
I ignored her. I told her it was a harmless data jack.
I finally looked it up on Wikipedia to silence my wife – to prove to her that they were actually harmless. And that’s when I discovered they weren’t.
The solution is simple. You don’t use the landline anymore. Replace the telephone jack wall plate with a blank one. I bought a metal one from Home Depot for $1 that will probably survive a nuclear blast, and is definitely tamper-proof.
It takes 5 minutes and can be done with a flathead screwdriver.
- Unscrew the telephone jack wall plate.
- Disconnect the wires from the wall plate. Tape them off and separate them so they don’t short. Stuff them into the hole.
- Install the blank wall plate in its place.
- Don’t tell your landlord. Fix it before you move out.