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We purchased some excellent Safety 1st boxes to cover standard outlets around the house, but there is one that we can't. Our Internet comes to our router from a standard ethernet cable which is accessible to our 15-month-old. He hasn't damaged it or himself, but we don't want that to be an option. All the outlet covers and boxes we have found are uniquely built for standard 2-socket outlets.

How can we childproof an ethernet cable?

n.b.: Everything I've found in my Googling is for an unused ethernet port. That does not apply, as I want to childproof the cable.

  • Childproof an ethernet cable is not clear to me. – paparazzo Jan 16 '18 at 17:44
  • You may want to include a photo, or a more detailed description of your cable/outlet. Is the outlet plate a different size than standard electrical outlet plates? (Most of the ethernet outlets I've seen are the same size, just with different "holes", so any box that covers the whole outlet plate ought to work.) – 1006a Jan 16 '18 at 17:58
  • 1
    This is purely data, no Power Over Ethernet? What is the concern? Snapping the prong? Disabling the internet? Mouthing a connector? I think the term you want is "locking ethernet port", "ethernet cable lock", or "ethernet strain relief" but I'm not certain which one. – user26011 Jan 16 '18 at 18:03
  • New user that has not come back. I flagged VTC – paparazzo Jan 17 '18 at 17:02
  • You can't make this work? amazon.com/dp/B009UX0MDS – tomjedrz Jan 20 '18 at 7:24
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Taking something out of view makes it less attractive of a nuisance. Making it inaccessible makes it child-proof. Put a piece of furniture in front of it to keep it both out of view and out of reach.

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Ethernet signals only use a couple of volts. The cables do not carry dangerous voltages like power outlets do, so there is no danger of electrocution.

The danger to the child would come from the cable connectors: ethernet cables have a springy plastic tab that locks them into position, and if that was chewed off and swallowed it could be a serious matter. However most such cables are "snagless", meaning that they have a rubber cap over the end of the tab to stop it snagging on other bits of cable when things get tangled. This would also make it difficult to break the tab off. So the main advice would be to ensure that all your cables are like this.

As far as damage to the sockets (both in the wall and any equipment) goes, the main issue is the contacts within the socket, which could be damaged by a prying finger. Some wall sockets come with a spring-loaded cover, and I think that this should be able to defeat a toddler. Also once a snagless cable is in the socket it requires some finger strength to remove, and you have to know where to squeeze, so I don't expect a toddler to be able to do so.

The only other issue I can imagine is chewing the cables. But that isn't dangerous (low voltage, as I said), and Ethernet cables are cheap. If you start seeing toothmarks on cables then lay in some spares (and do start worrying about chewing mains cables). Also you can get bitter compounds intended to stop nail biting. Paint some of that on the cables.

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Before I had a child, I stuck to using WiFi to get access in the room with my PC in- not ideal, but worked, not a huge problem. However the router was simply rubbish and before long the signal was getting interference from the microwave, short wave radios, M15 and low flying flying saucers- Cat5 had to be deployed.

Unfortunately my landlords were against the idea of an in-wall solution, so I had to "externally" do it. I ran it from behind the TV cabinet where the router was, over a doorway and along a skirting board, behind a sofa, under and up a set of stairs, up to the ceiling and over another doorway before finally slipping it under the doorway (as there was clearance with no catching) and along the skirting board up to my rack upstairs.

The whole thing was accomplished in the course of ~2 hours, using nothing more than cable clips and some gumption. If you didn't already know it was there, you'd not notice it. I left some slack both up and downstairs before terminating the ends, just in case.

There's ~12inches of space behind the TV unit and the wall where the cable starts- though it's in a corner so you can't really get behind it if you wanted to. The only spots he could realistically "get" at would be the doorway next to it, as the run goes up one side and down it.

He hasn't, in all his years, even thought about it until a few months ago when he was into his 7th year- even then it was just to ask what it was!

I'd say that if it's just in the wall, in an area that you can cover with furniture of some variety (or even something lightweight that will just cover it- like a laundry basket or material shoe rack) that should be enough. If you can hide it behind something more sturdy, all the better.

The only other solutions you'll have are the before-mentioned covers that work with power cables, or a very robust outside enclosure that's designed to be weatherproof- as these can often be secured with a padlock (or cable tie). If possible, the only cheap idea may be to cover it with a wiring junction box cover which could be screwed into the wall over the top of it, but the cable will still protrude and potentially get yanked on.

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One common way to deal with cables (both childproofing and just from a 'niceness' point of view) is to staple and/or tape them to the baseboards and to the wall in corners. It may require a longer cable, and depends on exactly where the router/modem is that you're connecting to, but it's a common solution.

Usually, you remove the outside facing part of the wall jack, and instead have the cable hide behind a completely flat panel. Then it comes "out" of the flat panel against the wall, and goes directly to the baseboard, where you can staple it to the baseboard right in the corner. Then the path goes to the wall corner, staples every foot or so, and then up the wall corner, either stapled or also (more neatly) with a kind of tape that you can paint over. Then pass it to wherever it needs to go (where the router is).

If the router/modem is just directly above the wall jack, you can instead pass it directly up (instead of down), again with staples and a paintable tape. Then put the router/modem out of reach of the child, and you have your problem solved. While the child technically can reach the cable, it will not be very tempting, particularly underneath tape.

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