Posts Tagged ‘electric outlet’
Each year, the insertion of foreign objects into electric receptacles results in injuries to many children. Nearly 90% of these incidents involved children under 6, with 1st and 2nd degree burns accounting for the vast majority of injuries.
The typical foreign-object insertion situation involves:
- A 2 or 3 year old child (50% of all incidents)
- An incident occurring at home
- Insertion of a hairpin or key
- 1st or 2nd degree burn to fingers
- Emotional trauma to the child and parents
- Treatment required in an emergency room
Besides hairpins or keys, other common objects inserted by children include fingers, pins, wires, screws, nails, paper clips, plugs, tweezers, paper clips, utensils and jewelry.
To help prevent these insertion incidents and injuries, the most widely used electric codes call for a new electric safety feature in all new homes – tamper-resistant receptacles.
This code change primarily affects new construction; however, tamper-resistant receptacles can be added in existing homes as well.
Tamper-resistant receptacle technology uses a built-in system to prevent a foreign object from touching electrically live components when the object is inserted into the receptacle slots. There are several methods to achieve tamper-resistance operation, the most common being the use of a spring-loaded shutter mechanism. When the receptacle is not in use, the shutters are closed, and all electric contacts are covered. Upon insertion of a plug, the blades of the plug simultaneously compress the shutters against the spring. This simultaneous force causes the shutters to slide aside to access to the receptacle contacts, allowing the plug to be fully inserted into the receptacle. When the plug is removed, the shutters instantly close, covering the contact openings.
Standard plugs can be inserted in and removed from a tamperproof receptacle in the same manner as standard electrical outlets; however, insertion of an object into one slot, or uneven insertion is prevented. The tamper-resistant features, however, don’t provide protection against the simultaneous insertion of two single-pronged items. Determined adults and adolescents could also bypass the tamperproof mechanisms if significant force is applied.
Unlike plastic outlet caps and other add-on childproofing devices, which can be removed, tamper-resistant receptacles provide permanent protection. In addition, some plug-in devices can easily be pulled out by children and have also proven to be a choking hazard due to their small size. Some other types of add-on devices create a risk of arcing or overheating due to a partially exposed plug or reduced plug/receptacle contact surface.
All tamper-resistant receptacles must have either the words “Tamper Resistant” or the letters “TR” on the device in a manner that allows the label to be reviewed with the wall plate removed.
Additional information about tamper-resistant receptacles can be found at the National Electric Manufacturer’s Association Safety website: www.childoutletsafety.org, the Electrical Safety Foundation International website: www.esfi.org, and the Safe Kids Canada website: www.safekidscanada.ca.
Article (c) DBR Franchising, LLC.