By: Emilie Sims
Electrical outlets are found in nearly every room of the home, which represents a constant risk if you have small children. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, approximately 2,400 children each year suffer severe shocks and burns from inserting objects into the slots of electrical outlets. Additionally, there are an estimated six to 12 child fatalities each year related to this. Prevent this from happening to your family by childproofing the electrical outlets in each room of your home.
Also known as safe plates, these are additional covers that sit on top of your existing outlet and are held in place by a screw. There is a spring-loaded plastic cover that prevents your child from poking anything inside of the outlet.
Tamper Resistant Receptacles
Installing tamper resistant receptacles (TRRs) around the home provides a permanent solution to help reduce the risk of childhood shock and injury. TRRs, which look like ordinary outlets, are designed with small, spring-loaded receptacle plates that close off the slots, but open when equal pressure is applied to both sides. This design prevents children from inserting fingers or other foreign objects into the slots, and reduces risk of electrical shock or injury.
There are also several types of child proof electrical outlets that you can choose to install that will provide a permanent way to reduce risk of child injury.
Combination Switch Outlet
This tamper-resistant outlet contains both a switch and an outlet to plug in devices. The dual mechanical shutter system blocks the insertion of objects into the outlet, increasing your child’s safety.
A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet can be identified by the “test” and “reset” buttons located on the receptacle. A GFCI outlet helps protect you from electrical hazards by shutting off the electricity circuit when it detects an imbalance. The National Electrical Code requires these outlets to be installed in water susceptible areas, such as the kitchen and bathroom. Test these outlets once a month to ensure they are working properly.
These receptacles look similar to standard ones, but the two outlets have the ability to spin 360 degrees. These outlets also allow you to use two large plugs at once.
Visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International and the National Fire Protection Association for more information on keeping your family safe around electrical outlets.