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Are Childproof Outlets Just for Children?

In celebration of Baby Safety Month this September, 2016, you may be considering adding childproof outlets to your home. A life and property-saving device, these specialized receptacles offer more than their name incites, making them a welcome addition to homes and businesses for more than just the obvious reasons.

Childproof outlets offer a host of benefits besides baby-proofing:

Also called tamper resistant receptacles (TRR), these devices…

Give grown-ups peace of mind.

Any parent knows it takes only an instant for curious little ones to get into dangerous situations. Because you cannot keep eyes on your child 24/7, childproof outlets can help mitigate risks, offering protection outlet covers cannot. No longer approved by independence testing laboratories, outlet covers can be easily removed by children over two. And outlet plugs, with replacement often overlooked by busy adults following outlet use, are likewise easily removed – and a choking hazard to boot.

Enhance safety beyond your immediate family.

Current electrical codes require childproof outlets in homes, businesses, hotels, and more. Even if you do not have children, upgrading to childproof outlets in your home reduces the risk of exposure to electrical shock and burn accidents for the children of visiting family, friends, and neighbors, as well as secures the safety of your home for all future residents.

Reducing fire risk.

Because outlet covers create a greater risk of overheating by design, they can be a fire hazard, making childproof outlets a far superior choice not only for the protection of children, but of your home and its contents.

How do they work?

Childproof outlets feature spring-loaded shutters that close-off receptacles slots when not in use. When engaging the outlet for power, both springs must be compressed simultaneously for shutters to open and electricity to flow, preventing children from inserting objects into a single contact opening and suffering shocks and burns. An important next step to making the home a safer place for children, childproof outlets add only around $0.50 to the cost of an unprotected receptacle. For a home with 75 receptacles, an additional $40 is all it would take to upgrade to tamper resistant receptacles as a permanent solution to overheating outlets covers and the nuisance and dangers of outlet plugs. The best part? Regular receptacles can be easily replaced with a TRR by a qualified electrician with no additional modifications.

There are a variety of options for childproofing electrical outlets in your home:

Standard tamper resistant receptacles. 
Childproof versions of run-of-the-mill, 2-prong outlets.

Combination switch outlets.
Tamper resistant plug and switch combos to meet your lighting and electrical needs.

Childproof outlets with GFCI and AFCI protection.
Have your cake and eat it too with outlets that are not only tamper proof, but designed to protect you in the event of water-related hazards (GFCI) and electrical arcs (AFCI).

A great line of defense – but not foolproof

After installing childproof outlets, please keep in mind: Though TRR offer a first line of defense against the hazards of shocks and burns, they do not prevent children from imitating adults and inserting plugs into outlets, which when incorrectly performed, can result in not only injury, but possible exposure to dangerous appliances as well (curling irons, shredders, etc.). As always with children, additional safety precautions will be necessary – even after the implementation of safety devices. (There is no replacement for a present parent!)

Time to step-up the electrical in your home? Mr. Electric® can help with trustworthy estimates and professional upgrades and repairs. Get the safety boost your family and home needs. Contact us today.