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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 9/4/2008

Making Your Home Safer For Children

(NAPS) Parents know that the best time to dangerproof their home is before their baby learns to crawl. That not only means installing safety gates, cabinet latches and corner covers, but protecting children from electrical injuries.

Electrical injuries are traumatic for anyone, but the magnitude of physical and emotional pain increases with child-related incidents. Inserting an object such as a key, hairpin or paper clip into an electrical outlet could inflict an injury ranging from electric shock to a first-, second- or third-degree burn, or even death.

Parents know that electrical outlets, or receptacles, pose safety risks, but one of the most popular preventive measures, the plastic outlet cap, actually offers little protection. Outlet caps can be removed or forgotten, and this false sense of security goes undetected until an incident occurs. Only a tamper-resistant receptacle can ensure automatic, continuous and permanent protection against electrical injuries.

These receptacles work like any outlet, except they have a built-in shutter system preventing children from inserting metal objects into the slots. The shutters obstruct objects from touching electrically live components, but plugs can be inserted and removed as usual.

While hospital pediatric wards have required these devices for more than 20 years, most parents and homeowners haven t used them. But that s about to change.

The 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) established a new standard for child electrical safety, with a requirement for all receptacles in newly constructed residential units to be tamper resistant. These devices will likely become household necessities.

One might think better protection means skyrocketing prices, but industry projections indicate otherwise. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) estimates that tamper-resistant receptacles would add less than $50 to the cost of a new home s electrical installation.



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