Every year, more than 2,400 children in the United States are treated in emergency rooms due to electrical shocks and burns from tampering with electrical outlets. Installing child proof outlets provides an inexpensive, simple, and permanent solution for these accidents.
Though child proof outlets appear nearly identical to standard wall outlets, they are anything but. Spring-loaded receptacle cover plates protect electrical contacts, preventing the insertion of objects when unequal pressure is applied to the receptacle’s contact points. This design makes it very difficult for anyone to insert something incorrectly, while still leaving the outlet conveniently open for proper use.
For adults who know how to properly operate a plug, using a childproof outlet is simple. These outlets do not require the strength or knowledge required to operate most other child proof devices. In order to insert a plug into the receptacle, simply apply equal pressure to both sides simultaneously (as you would normally do) which allows the receptacle’s cover plate to open.
Nearly a third of accidents occur when a child inserts common household items into receptacles, 70% of them occurring when adults are present. Items that children insert into outlets can be found anywhere, and include hairpins, keys, plugs, paper clips, staples, tools, jewelry, belt buckles, nail files, knives, and more.
Seven children per day, 2,400 children per year, will be injured by placing objects into electrical outlets. Almost all injuries (95%) resulting from electrical outlets cause burns. Though they range in severity, it is important to understand that burns are very serious in young children, whose skin is thin and offers little resistance to electric flow or heat.
For just a few dollars per outlet, pennies more than traditional receptacles, you can bring your home up to code and make it safer for your family by having child proof outlets installed. In fact, tamper proof receptacles have proven so effective that as of 2008 the National Electrical Code has required the installation of them in all new homes.
When selecting child proof outlets for your home, avoid those that require you to screw plugs in place, as they are not only inconvenient but also present a fire hazard. In addition, once outlets are installed, avoid the use of plastic plugs – your outlets are now tamper-proof, and these items present a choking hazard to small children.