Are Childproof Outlets Really Safe?

Posted on: January 3, 2017

Ask any parent what they spend a large portion of their day doing and many, if not the majority, are going to say worrying. There are loads of potential dangers out there, and as parents we are vividly aware of all of them. They exist everywhere, and we can’t really mitigate literally all of them. But we certainly have control over the dangers in our homes!

Wondering about childproofing your outlets and how best to go about it? The team at Hoffman Electrical has you covered! Our certified professionals take safety as our number one priority, and we can give you the lowdown on what works, what doesn’t, and how you can make your home safer for you and your children.

What Are Childproof Outlets & Do They Work?

The question is a simple one, but the answer takes a bit of doing. There have been many types of “childproof” outlets or safety measures offered throughout the years. Some are great and work as well as anyone could hope. Others, on the other hand, are a bit lackluster.

The Underperformers

These methods offer some protection, but don’t tend to do as well as anyone would really like:

  • Plastic outlet covers. We have all probably seen these from time to time. The little plastic or rubberish “plugs” that simply socket into an outlet. The intention is to block the outlet from tiny prying fingers, and when all’s said and done, they’re probably better than nothing. But the problem is they can be very easily removed, either by an inquisitive child or one that has seen you remove one before.
  • Slide covers. Same song, different verse. These perform similarly to the plug covers, but instead use a mechanized slide to cover the outlets. Same problem again—a curious kid can simply slide the cover and there we have an exposed outlet again.

The trouble with these solutions is that kids are super curious. Outlets are a strange, interesting thing that is right at their level and they see us fiddling with them all of the time. Bottom line, simple covers aren’t going to dissuade an inquisitive mind.

The Best Solution: Tamper-Proof Outlets

The good news is that the best option may already be in your home! Why? Because according to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) as of 2014 all homes have to be equipped with tamper-proof outlet upgrades to be up to code. These outlets utilize spring-loaded slide shutters to block access to the outlet.

When a device is plugged in, the two prongs of the device (let’s say a television, just as an example) hit the two points of contact on the spring lock and allow the appliance to be plugged in. Without two points of contact on the prongs, the outlet will not be accessible. So a kid armed with, say, a set of keys or a butter knife, has no chance of gaining access to the outlet. It’s the superior form of safety!

Outlet Safety & Upgrades in Tampa & Clearwater, Florida

Is your home equipped with safe, tamper-proof outlets? If you’re not sure or if you’re sure it isn’t, give our experts a call. You can reach Hoffman Electrical any time on the web and we’ll be happy to help!