Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.2 Quality of the Outdoor and Indoor Environment

5.2.4 Electrical Fixtures and Outlets Extension Cords

The use of extension cords should be discouraged; however, when used, they should bear the listing mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory, and should not be placed through doorways, under rugs or carpeting, behind wall-hangings, or across water-source areas. Electrical cords (extension and appliance) should not be frayed or overloaded.
Electrical malfunction is a major cause of ignition of fatal house fires. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that from 2002-2004 extension cords and other electric cords were the ignition sources of fires that caused an average of sixty deaths and 150 burn injuries each year (1). Extension cords should not be accessible to children, whether in use or when temporarily not in use but plugged in. There is risk of electric shock to a child who may poke a metal object into the extension cord socket (2).
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a Link to a list of Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories at
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. Chowdhury, R., M. Greene, D. Miller. 2008. 2003-2005 residential fire loss estimates. Washington, DC: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  2. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Extension cords fact sheet.