Children are curious, and during the first few years of their development, they like to experiment. Unfortunately, shoving their fork into an outlet isn’t an experiment anyone wants to witness.
In fact, The National Fire Protection Association found that 2,400 children are injured each year “playing” with outlets. Not only could your child suffer from severe burns or shocks, but those without tamper resistant outlets are risking their kids’ lives: with 6-12 kids suffering fatal electrocution annually.
Let’s explore some ways you can protect your family from the dangers of neglected outlets:
Select Tamper Resistant Outlet Covers
Children don’t realize that outlet receptacles aren’t play things. Sticking a toy or any foreign object into an open electrical slot could send a shock throughout their body.
In order to protect your kids from electrical burns or fatal current, consider upgrading your receptacles for improved outlet safety:
One of the cheapest options to hide your receptacles is to purchase plastic slot plugs like these childproof outlet covers. Most are made with smooth plastic, making the plugs hard for tiny fingers to firmly grasp and pull out.
This is what we like to call a “band-aid” fix to protect your outlets. Although they are inexpensive, it can be all too easy to forget to put them back in after removing to vacuum, and these small plastic caps can be a choking hazard if picked up by curious hands (or pets). Also, for older children with more dexterity, it may be best to try one of the other solutions below.
Sliding Plate Covers
Another simply ways to protect the outside layer of your outlets is a sliding plate, like this one on Amazon, which can be easily installed with only a screwdriver. You must manually slide the spring-loaded block over before inserting any prongs (or foreign objects) into the slots, making it safe for youngsters.
Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRR)
Some outlets are easy to see inside of, but have you noticed how some more modern receptacles have a thin layer of plastic in front of the slots? These type of receptacles are spring-loaded like the sliding plate covers, but instead of pushing a plate over, the slots themselves are constantly covered and will only open if both slots have something inserted into them simultaneously.
In 2008, the National Electrical Code (NEC) issued a requirement to install these in both new and renovated homes, so if you have a newer home, you may already be protected. TRR should be installed by a certified electrician and aren’t that costly for the extra peace of mind.
Replace Two-Prong Outlets
It’s not just kids who have to worry about getting shocked by outlets: adults should also be concerned about ungrounded, two-prong outlets.
These were the standard receptacles of older homes, oftentimes seen in houses built before the 1960s, and lack the ground wire that provides protection against electrical surges. The problem with replacing these outlets is that it’s not a quick swap; you must rewire your electrical panel and have an electrician add a ground to all outlets. Fortunately, our team can help with that.
Don’t Forget to Childproof Your Power Strips!
Power strips can be even more dangerous than standard wall outlets, as there are multiple slots lined all across the bar. Try this plastic power strip covering, which could be mounted to the wall and comes in a neutral color to match your home’s aesthetic. Many companies are also making desks or attachables for easy cable management, helping to keep cords and strip bars elevated or hidden from your children’s reach.
Surge protected power strips can be a lifesaver too— literally. Read more about how they could protect you from dangerous surges of current and even extend the life of your electronics.
It’s Never Too Soon to Protect Your Family
Childproofing your outlets is a great place to start, but electrical concerns go beyond just baby proofing your house.
Do you also have ground and arc fault circuit interrupters for extra protection against shock and fire hazards? If you’re not sure what these are, read more here: GFCI vs AFCI: Understanding Your Receptacles & Breakers. It could also benefit you to read about these ten electrical safety tips for a quick ways to add instant protection.
You don’t have to do it all alone. Contact us to help you with new installation or to seek additional advice on childproofing your home today.