POSTED ON June 23, 2015
Electrical outlets are located throughout the home, creating an ever-present danger when not used appropriately. Electrical shocks and burns send around 2,400 kids to the hospital each year, causing as many as 12 fatalities annually. Childproofing is an excellent way to reduce electrical accidents. Installing tamper resistant receptacles can make your home safer and protect your children.
Electrical shocks and burns are an unfortunate consequence that can occur when children play with household electrical outlets. Nearly a third of electrical-related injuries are caused by children inserting foreign objects into household electrical outlets. Bobby pins, keys, silverware, and other common household items can be easily inserted into one side of an unprotected outlet, causing injuries in an instant. Even in homes where children are well watched, a child’s curiosity can lead to tragedy when you’ve only looked away for just a moment.
Tamper resistant receptacles, also referred to as TRRs, look very much like the wall outlets you already have in your home. What makes them different is that they have spring-loaded shutters which close the receptacle openings. When a plug is inserted, it compresses the springs, allowing the shutters to open so the plug’s metal prongs can make contact. With a tamper resistant receptacle, both receptacle openings must receive pressure at the same time to move the shutters, preventing accidents caused when a child inserts an object into one side of the outlet.
Plastic outlet covers have been a popular childproofing device for many years. These covers must be removed each time you need to plug something in, and can be lost or forgotten about, which leaves the outlet exposed. These small pieces can also pose a choking hazard. Children can learn to operate sliding outlet covers by watching parents use them, defeating their purpose.
Tamper resistant receptacles have been mandated for all new home construction by the National Electric Code since 2008, so if your home was built since then, you should already have these receptacles in place. They are also required to be installed in renovated dwellings. With tamper resistant receptacles in every home, children are protected in their homes as well as while visiting friends and relatives. If you live in an older home, consider upgrading your electrical receptacles for the safety of your family. Tamper resistant receptacles can be installed safely and effectively by a licensed electrician.
The price of tamper resistant receptacles will vary based on the style of device you choose. These receptacles only add about $0.50 to the cost of each receptacle being installed, compared to a standard, unprotected model. There are approximately 75 receptacles in the average home, so to upgrade an entire new home to tamper resistant receptacles, the cost is under $40.00 — a small price to pay for the safety of your family.