Childproofing your house is a huge undertaking. From locking cabinets to setting up barriers, childproofing can really change your house. One of the most important elements to childproofing is making sure that your electrical outlets are not accessible to your little one. There are different types of tools you can use to childproof electrical outlets.
Plastic Outlet Protectors
This is the most inexpensive option. These are small plastic caps that fit prongs directly into outlet holes. They’re very easy to use, simply plug them into the outlet. However, since they’re easy to install, children can figure out how to remove them. It’s also easy to forget to re-insert them and subsequently leave the outlet uncovered.
If you misplace the plastic outlet protectors, they pose a choking hazard for very young children. Plastic outlet protectors may be better than nothing, but there are safer options.
Complete Outlet Covers
These cover the complete outlet face, or switchplate. They can also cover the ends of plugged-in cords, keeping that entire area of the wall safe. Before buying, make sure these are easy enough to remove for adults so other cords can be plugged in—but not too easy, as a curious child might then be able to snap them off.
Child Tamper-Resistant Face Outlet Covers
These covers are characterized by switchplates with faces that swivel or slide over the outlet holes. Check your hardware store, as some are intended as replacement switchplates and other kinds can be retrofit over existing outlets.
Child Tamper-Resistant Outlets
These look just like any other outlet, but behind the face are plastic shutters which are designed to remain closed until a plug is inserted. Most young children will not try to stick two objects into the two vertical outlet holes at the same time. Inserting a plug requires a certin level of even force to get the shutter to open. These are the safest option for electrical outlet safety, as they are permanent and automatic. In fact, the 2008 National Electrical Code requires these in homes.