If you’ve got small children, no doubt you’ve become very aware of the number of outlets in your home. They’re found in nearly every room and they do present a risk to the younger crowd. The National Fire Protection Agency says that approximately 2,400 children yearly suffer burns and severe shocks due to inserting objects into the slots of electrical outlets. Six to 12 child fatalities arise from those statistics. So don’t leave it “luck” – protect and prevent this from happening by childproofing the electrical outlets in each room in your house.
Okay so we know the risks; what can you do to mitigate them? There are various options and below are a few temporary as well as permanent choices to help you protect those little ones from unnecessary electrical dangers.
These are an easy temporary solution to the problem. They are additional covers or safe plates, which sit on top of your existing outlet and are held in place by a screw. Their spring-loaded plastic cover prevents your child from poking anything inside of the outlet. They are easily removable as your children grow if you no longer see a need for them.
There are also permanent options to reduce the risk for shock and injury to a child.
Tamper Resistant Receptacles
These provide a permanent solution, helping to reduce the risk of shock and/or injury. TRR’s look like ordinary outlets. They’re designed with small, spring-loaded receptacle plates that close off the slots but open when equal pressure is applied to both sides. How that helps? Its design prevents children from putting their fingers or other foreign objects into the slots, thereby reducing the risk of electrical shock or injury.
Although similar to standard outlets, these two can spin a full 360 degrees, allowing you to use two large plugs at the same time.
GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)
The “test” and “reset” buttons located on the receptacle itself easily identifies this very common outlet. You are offered electrical hazard protection by a GFCI outlet because it will shut off the electrical circuit when it detects an imbalance. These outlets are required by the National Electrical Code to be installed in water susceptible areas, such as bathrooms and the kitchen. You should test these outlets once a month to ensure they are working properly.
Combination Switch Outlet
There’s both a switch and an outlet on this tamper-resistant outlet to plug-in devices. With a dual mechanical shutter system, it effectively blocks the insertion of objects into the outlet.
Remember Sylvester Electric is here to help! You can schedule your Electrical Home Safety Inspection to go through any needs or problems that should be addressed in your home. Our Lowell electricians are the trusted team.
And you can visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International and the National Fire Protection Association for more information on keeping your family safe around electrical outlets.