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Childproofing Your Home's Receptacles

Electrical Safety For Your Family


Childproofing your home is as easy as installing childproof receptacles or adding receptacles safety covers to them. Installation of these devices are simple enough to install. Simply read the manufacturer's instructions for guidelines for installing them correctly.

Small children are often curious and see their parents plugging in cords into receptacles. Like most young ones, they mimic their parents, trying to put something into the recptacles holes like paper clips and other objects. This could be shocking! In fact, every year small children are injured or killed by inserting objects into receptacles. These electrical shocks can be avoided with the addition of plastic caps that are very inexpensive to buy. Plastic, as you know, is not a conductor of electricity and therefore protect small children from electrocution. The caps plug into the receptacle slots and are very hard for children to remove.

A receptacle cover is another great way of virtually eliminating children from accessing the receptacles all together. These covers mount right over the receptacle and sport a plastic-hinged cover door. For the adult, all you have to do is open the childproof door and plug in or unplug your cord. For the child, what they don't see, they don't play with. By hiding the receptacle behind this covering, they won't be tempted to play with the receptacle. The best feature is that your cords can be plugged in and the cover conceals them from children all together.

Childproof receptacles incorporate twist-type plugins. Simply insert the cords partially into the slot, turn the outer face, and insert the rest of the way. These new sytle receptacles have their own safety covers built right in, No more looking for the plastic covers and having the problem of finding a place to store them while you're using the receptacle, just twist and use or twist and their childproof. These devices are great because even if a child does stick something into the receptacle holes, because they are turned so that no contact can be made with the contact points of the receptacle, no electrocution danger is readily available.

And that brings us to the tip I often pass along to those of you installing receptacles. Although this tip isn't great for everything, like refrigerators and other flat cord installations where the ground plug is down and the cord has to hag, it does make sense for most installations. By placing the ground hole up (the round hole above the two flat slots), you can see that a child that may be holding a paper clip and moving downward over the receptacle opening would touch the ground connection first before touching either the hot or neutral connection. If the paper clip touches the ground first and then the hot connection, the circuit will short out and, although there will likely be sparks and a loud pop, the circuit should blow a fuse or trip a circuit breaker. The saving grace is that the circuit should be off now and your child is safe. Turned over, there is a distinct possibility they could touch the hot connection and become the path to ground without ever touching the ground slot connection.

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