Electrical Safety Foundation International estimates that 2,400 children each year suffer from severe electric shock or burns from sticking metal objects such as paperclips, keys or pins into electrical sockets. Six to 12 fatalities a year result from this!
Every room in your home has multiple outlets that threaten to endanger your curious children. Fortunately, thanks to a new technology called tamper resistant receptacles, you can affordably and reliably protect your children.
How do tamper resistant receptacles work?
The concept is simpler than you might imagine. Tamper resistant receptacles look the same as ordinary outlets, but they feature spring-loaded shutter plates that block the socket openings. When you touch a plug to the socket openings with equal pressure, they give way and allow you to insert the plug like normal.
Only when equal pressure is applied to both openings does this happen. Poking and prodding with foreign objects won’t release the shutters, thus protecting children from painful and dangerous electrical injuries.
Why are tamper resistant receptacles better than other child-proofing solutions?
Certainly, tamper resistant receptacles are not your only option for shutting off electrical outlets. You can also use receptacle caps, but these are inconvenient, easy to lose and may even become a choking hazard if left lying around.
Another option is to install sliding receptacle covers. However, these make it difficult to insert plugs with just one hand, making them less convenient. Plus, observant children can learn to defeat sliding receptacle covers by watching how their parents slide the cover over before inserting a plug.
In the end, tamper resistant receptacles provide the best protection against the insertion of foreign objects. After all, even if a parent instructs a child not to insert anything into an electrical outlet, curiosity can sometimes get the best of even the best-behaved kids.
Retrofitting your home with tamper resistant receptacles
As of 2008, the National Electrical Code requires new homes and apartment buildings to be built with tamper resistant receptacles. If your home lacks this safety feature, it’s easy to make the upgrade. Just purchase replacement receptacles at your local home improvement store for about $.50 more than standard versions. Then follow the installation guidelines on the packaging, which are the same as standard receptacles.
If you don’t feel comfortable completing this electrical upgrade, hire a licensed electrician to complete the job for you. A trained professional at Mr. Electric® is more than happy to help you with your safety upgrade. Contact us today.