Child Safety Outlets
Child safety outlets, which type do you need?
Electrical outlet covers are probably one of the first items you think of when purchasing products to child-proof your home. Simple, right? You might be surprised to find that even within the category of outlet covers you will be presented with multiple options.
To begin you need to determine what kind of outlet covers you have in your home. Most residential homes have standard outlets, which contain one screw in the middle of the plate.
Your home may also have decorator outlets, which have a screw at both the top and bottom of the outlet.
Products are generally designed for either standard or designer outlets and not made to be used interchangeably.
Outlet plugs (which actually can be used interchangeably on standard and decorator outlets) are recommended for outlets that are not used or used infrequently. They are generally inexpensive, plug directly into the outlet and fit snugly to prevent access.
The downside to outlet plugs is that children tend to figure out how to remove them quicker and more easily than outlet plates or covers. Once removed, the plugs themselves may pose a choking hazard.
Child safety outlet covers are recommended for outlets which have items that are plugged in continuously, items for which you do not need frequent access to or outlets with large adapters plugged in. Outlet covers are made specifically for either standard or decorator style outlets.
Outlet plates are recommended for outlets which are used frequently. Outlet plates replace your existing plates and have a sliding cover which closes as soon as an item is unplugged.
Power strip covers prevent access to power strips by fully encasing the strip in a plastic child proof cover. They generally fit strips with two to six outlets and provide room for cord storage.
Both outlet covers and plates, and power strip covers are difficult for toddlers to figure out and remove or open.
Assess your home, its outlets and how you use them to determine which type of cover best suits your needs. Most families will require a variety of child safety outlets and styles to childproof all the rooms in their home.
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