Tamper resistant receptacles (TRRs) are a type of power outlet designed to protect children (and others) from electrical shock. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi), seven children a day are injured due to playing with or sticking something into a power outlet. When a child sticks an item in a receptacle, such as a hairpin or car keys, they can suffer severe electrical shock or burns. TRRs offer a permanent solution to this risk.
TRRs look very much like traditional power sockets, but if you look more closely, you can see the difference. Unlike conventional sockets that are left open, TRRs have a spring-loaded receptacle cover that is designed only to release when a plug is inserted. The receptacle covers can sense when the even pressure of a plug with multiple prongs is being inserted vs. a foreign object.
Tamper resistant receptacles themselves are incredibly affordable, often costing less than $20. For those who have children, it is a good idea to have them installed throughout your home. They are also a good idea if you plan to sell your home soon or if you are generally concerned about visitors who may bring children over.
In short, installing TRRs is a great way to improve the overall safety of your home’s electrical system.
Does the NEC Require Tamper Resistant Receptacles?
Yes, TRRs are required to be installed in all new home construction projects. Though, this requirement is relatively recent. Therefore if you do not live in a new construction home, you may not have TRRs currently installed. It is a fairly quick and easy project to convert your existing outlets to TRRs. However, this is not a DIY project. TRRs should only be installed by a licensed electrician like ours at Lightning Bug Electric.
TRRs vs. Outlet Covers
Tamper resistant receptacles are the gold standard in protecting your children from electrical shock. However, they don’t prevent your child from fiddling with cords and plugs while they are plugged in. This is where outlet covers may come in handy. Outlet covers are boxes that can be fit over an in-use outlet and locked into place. They prevent small children from unplugging or fiddling with outlets and cords that are currently in use.
Outlet covers offer a great boost to your childproofing endeavors and help you ensure that your little ones cannot play with your power outlets.
Other Ways to Baby-Proof Your Home’s Electrical System
When it comes to baby-proofing your home, you have a lot of ground to cover. However, beyond outlet plug covers, you may not know what to do to protect your child from electrical shock. As we’ve already pointed out, installing TRRs and outlet covers is a great next step. But there are a few more things you should consider.
Other baby-proofing steps to take:
- Secure loose cords so that they cannot be played with
- Avoid using extension cords
- If cords must run through an area, tape them down or along baseboards to make it more difficult for children to play with
- Keep unused electronic devices put away in cupboards with child locks
- Purchase childproof power strips or install power strip covers
Want to learn more about tamper resistant receptacles and whether you should install them in your home? Give us a call! We can also provide more guidance on how best to babyproof your home’s electrical system.