Tamper Resistant (TR) Electrical Outlets – Not So Baby Safe

Unfortunately, many parents believe that tamper-resistant outlets are “child proof” and they might not think about other safety precautions. They are named tamper-RESISTANT and not tamper-proof for a reason. While tamper-resistant outlets are a simple way to help protect children from electrical hazards, they are not the complete answer for electrical safety for children. Tamper-resistant outlets, like other safety devices, are one of several layers of protection that help reduce injuries.Tamper-resistant outlets or receptacles feature a shutter mechanism that protects children from sticking foreign objects into the receptacle
TR-ElectricalOutlets(like hairpins, keys and paper clips). The spring-loaded shutter system in the outlet only allows electricity to flow when equal pressure is applied simultaneously to both shutters such as when an electrical plug is inserted. During unused conditions, both shutters are closed. Tamper-resistant outlets will be marked “TR” or “Tamper-Resistant” but you might need to remove the wall plate to view the marking.It is unlikely that electricians and contractors are explaining all the features of tamper-resistant outlets to parents or the possible risks, such as plug insertion by children. Also, parents might not realize how fascinated young children might be with plugs or imitating adults.   Educating Parents and Caregivers about Tamper-Resistant Outlets:

  • Tamper-resistant outlets are a passive safety device that will help reduce electrical injuries for children who can quickly find trouble.
  • Tamper-resistant outlets reduce the risk of electrical injuries but they are not 100% tamper-proof (no safety product is 100% tamper-proof).
  • Tamper-resistant outlets, like other safety devices, are one of several layers of protection that help reduce injury.
  • Tamper-resistant outlets require two objects to be inserted at the same time for electrical power.
  • The devices do not protect against two single items inserted simultaneously (the shutters would interpret that situation as a plug).
  • Tamper-resistant outlets do not prevent children from imitating adults and inserting plugs into outlets. Extension cords, shredders, small appliances and curling irons are just a few examples of dangerous electrical items in the home.
  • Tamper resistant outlets will not be everywhere the child plays or travels so it is important for parents to continue with safety education and other precautions.
  • Homeowners may wish to replace their current receptacles with TROs.

To BETTER safeguard your baby from electrical outlets and electrocution, Baby Safe Homes recommends installing self closing electrical outlet plates or electrical outlet covers.  Please contact us for more information or a consultation.

Article Provided by the International Association for Child Safety