Stay away from power lines. Don’t go swimming during a thunderstorm. And don’t use electrical appliances in the bathtub.
These are just a few of the electrical safety rules we should be teaching our kids.
But what about very young children who don’t yet comprehend why electricity can be dangerous?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recorded 5,500 emergency room visits in the United States in 2015 that were caused by electrical outlets. Children were more likely to be injured compared with share of population.
- Kids under 5 make up 6% of US population but accounted for 27% of those injured.
- Kids 5-17 comprised 29% of those injured by electrical outlets, double their share of the population.
Some parents install plastic outlet covers hoping to keep curious little fingers out of harm’s way. But are you using the right ones? Let’s talk about some of the drawbacks of traditional plastic covers and the advantages of more recent tamper resistant receptacles, or TRRs.
Traditional Plastic Outlet Covers
A survey conducted by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) revealed that 86% of parents who attempted to childproof electrical outlets used traditional outlet covers. But 40% of those parents were concerned that children can remove them.
And a separate study from Temple University confirms this concern.
- The researchers timed how long it would take young kids to remove plastic outlet covers.
- They found that 100% of 2-4 year olds (yes, all of them) were able to remove one particular type of cap within 10 seconds.
- The caps may also present a choking hazard.
One recent innovation that offers stronger protection is the tamper resistant receptacle.
Benefits of Tamper Resistant Receptacles
With TRRs, you don’t need to buy outlet covers that can be removed.
- Instead, spring-loaded shutters are built into the receptacle to close off the slots.
- The springs open only when a compatible plug is inserted into both slots.
- The springs won’t open when an object is inserted into only one slot.
The NFPA 70® National Electric Code® has required TRRs in all new and renovated homes since 2008, as well as other types of properties where children are likely to be present, such as daycare centers and healthcare facilities.
Nearly half of parents in the EFSI survey were not familiar with TRRs, and 62% of those who have TRRs said they were already present when they moved into their current home.
However, it’s a relatively cheap improvement that could potentially save a life — it only adds 50 cents to the cost of the outlet to install a TRR.
Are you looking for ways to make your own home safer for kids? Contact Complete Electrical Solutions to learn more about installing tamper resistant outlets in your home.