Electrical outlets are likely found in every room of your home, which presents a constant safety risk if you have small children. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, approximately 2,400 children each year suffer severe shocks and burns from inserting objects into the slots of electrical outlets. Additionally, there are an estimated six to twelve child fatalities each year related to this.
Protect your family from electrical accidents. Here are a few of the best types of child proof electrical outlets you can choose from.
Child Proof Outlet Covers
There are two primary types of child proof outlet covers:
- Safe plates, which attach to existing outlets with a screw. There is a spring-loaded plastic cover that prevents your child from poking anything into the outlet.
- Outlet boxes, which provide room for plugs that are using the receptacle while also preventing a child from accessing the second, empty outlet.
Installing tamper-resistant outlets around the home can help reduce the risk of children being shocked and injured. Tamper-resistant outlets look similar to ordinary outlets. They are designed with spring-loaded receptacle plates that close off the slots, but the slots open when equal pressure is applied to both sides (such as when a plug is inserted).
This design prevents children from inserting fingers or other foreign objects into one of the slots, and therefore it reduces risk of electrical shock. However, a child who is capable of inserting a plug into an outlet will still be able to do so with a tamper-resistant outlet.
A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet can be identified by the “test” and “reset” buttons located on the receptacle. A GFCI outlet protects against electrical hazards by shutting off the electrical circuit when it detects an imbalance, which can happen when a child inserts an object into the outlet. The National Electrical Code requires these outlets to be installed in water-susceptible areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms, but GFCIs are suitable for use throughout the house. Test GFCI outlets once a month to ensure they are working properly.