With the modern electrical outlets used in homes today, the chances of child electrocution are low therefore electrical outlets childproofing should be considered. According to data, there are around 2,400 children suffer from shocks and burns from sticking things in outlets. These shocks and burns can be serious or even deadly. This is why it is so important to take the necessary measures to childproof your electrical outlets. The good news is that several options are available to keep your small children safe.
Why is Electrical Outlets Childproofing Important?
Children are curious by nature, especially once they are mobile and start moving around. As they begin to crawl they come face-to-face with electrical wires and outlets. Their instinct is to poke and prod to learn more about what they are finding. The most common way children do this is by sticking something (be it a utensil or toy) into the opening of the outlet. This is one of the top causes of electrocution in children in addition to biting into electrical cords or sticking things into electric appliances.
Electric outlets have between 120-240 Volts of electricity. The degree of harm that comes from a shock caused by this voltage can vary depending on the length of contact. While sometimes there may be minor injuries or burns, it can be deadly. This is why you need to carefully look at your electrical outlets and choose the best childproofing option available for your family.
Electrical Outlets Childproofing Options
The good news is that there are several options available for childproofing electrical outlets. Each of these options has its own level of safety, with some being better than others.
Outlet plugs are perhaps the most well-known childproofing option for outlets. These are simply plastic plugs that plug into the outlet. They keep small children and toddlers from inserting anything into the outlet and getting shocked. You want to make sure that you purchase plugs that are large enough that should a child find one they do not become a choking hazard. While plugs are the easiest thing to implement, you must be diligent about replacing them once you unplug your appliance.
If you’re worried you’ll forget to put the plugs back in, you may want to consider using outlet covers. Two different kinds of outlet covers are helpful for childproofing. Both of these covers require replacing the existing cover plate.
Sliding Outlet Covers
Sliding outlet covers have an interior outlet cover that automatically closes over the socket holes once something is unplugged. This type of cover eliminates any concern over choking hazards or your child getting the plug out on their own.
Box Outlet Covers
This type of outlet cover is good for those appliances that stay plugged in. These covers go over both the plugs and the outlet. They come in different sizes to cover both small and large outlets. Using a box outlet cover means that your child will not mess with the plug itself. However, if the outlet is needed, the cover can be easily removed by an adult.
GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets do not prevent a child from sticking something inside the outlet like plugs or covers. However, they are designed to shut off the electrical circuit if it detects an imbalance. These outlets should be installed in areas where there is water, such as your kitchen and bathroom. It is important to test these outlets regularly (even monthly) to make sure they are still functioning correctly. If working correctly, GFCI outlets will reduce the amount of shock a child may get from sticking something in the outlet. It is advisable to use GFCI outlets in combination with plugs or covers.
Combination Switch Outlets
Another option to consider when electrical outlets childproofing is a combination switch outlet. These outlets often use a tamper-resistant receptacle in addition to a switch. The switch can be used to turn off the outlet. Meanwhile, the specific type of outlet helps reduce the risk of a child inserting something into the outlet.
Tamper Resistant Receptacles
Even if you don’t use a combination switch outlet, you can install tamper resistant receptacles or outlets. While these outlets look like other outlets in your home, they are equipped with small spring-loaded plates that close the openings on the outlet. To open them, pressure must be applied equally to both sides of the outlet. This works to minimize the chance of a child inserting something in the outlet.
Note: Tamper resistant receptacles do not completely remove the risk of electrical injuries. It is still possible that a small child could receive an electrical shock or burn if they try to insert a plug into the outlet. Additionally, the child could be injured by whatever they plug in such as an iron, curling iron, extension cord, etc.
The bottom line is that you want your child to stay safe through. Each of the options available for electrical outlets childproofing has its own benefits and comes with its own risks. It is important to evaluate your habits and to pick the best childproofing option that will work for your family. If you need help getting your home ready for your little one, our team at WireCraft Electric can help you install the new outlets you need to keep your family safe. You can also reach out to us for any electrical outlet repair. Request a services here or give us a call today at 206-542-0208 to get started.