Are Your Outlets Childproofed?
Have you ever watched a child in action? They are a never-ending bundle of energy. Always curious. Always reaching out to learn something new.
And while that may good in some aspects, it can also let their little fingers get in potentially dangerous situations. That’s why any good safety manual will tell you to ensure your outlets are childproofed. But what does that mean?
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, over 2,400 children are injured annually playing with electrical outlets. Clearly more can be done to keep children away from potentially dangerous situations.
In most cases, children don’t get into trouble when they’re alone. These toddlers manage to wind up in dangerous situations with adult supervision close by.
In 2008, the National Electrical Code mandated tamper-resistant receptacles in all new and renovated homes. These electrical receptacles are designed to prevent jamming objects inside them by protecting the outlet with a spring-loaded shutter that closes the outlet off when not in use. That ensures one extra step is needed before anything can be placed inside the outlet – something that will give a higher level of protection between the outlet and tiny hands. They are easy to see – the shutter plate slides over the outlet. You will also find the letters “TR” or “tamper-resistant” on the surface.
An old standby is to use outlet covers on any outlet not in use. The key is remembering to place them in all electrical outlets, and to put them back into place when you are finished using an outlet.
If you have a toddler with power-fingers, you might try a sliding plate cover. These are also called self-closing outlet covers. These screw into your existing outlet and feature a spring-loaded piece of plastic that keeps the outlet slot covered when not in use. They automatically snap back into place when an item isn’t plugged in. The best part is there’s no tiny plastic piece to keep track of when you’re plugging something in.
You should also avoid using extension cords, and firmly attach all power cords to any freestanding light or appliance you use throughout your home. Children pull on things. Not only is there a risk of exposing an outlet and giving their fingers access to electrical shock, but it also is a hazard for pulling heavy items down on top of them.
Want to learn even more? Want to ensure all of your electrical wiring is up to code and safe for everyone in your family? We can provide you with a whole house audit and show you where your trouble spots lie and how best to improve them and make your home safe once again.