Nearly 2,400 children each year – seven children a day – are treated in hospitals for shocks and burns from electrical outlets. Most of these injuries are the result of small children placing ordinary household items into the outlets with disastrous consequences. However, using tamper-resistant outlets as required in the new 2008 National Electrical Code could all but eliminate this hazard says the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).

Tamper-resistant outlets look like normal wall outlets but inside they feature a shutter mechanism that protects children from sticking hairpins, keys, paper clips and other foreign objects into the receptacle. 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 outlet shutters and openings are covered.

 

Unfortunately, not every state will benefit from this life-saving technology immediately. The 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) is a standard developed by the National Fire Protection Association and it does not become law until it is officially adopted by each state. Based on historical adoption rates, most states and cities can be expected to adopt the 2008 NEC within two years. As states consider whether to adopt fully the 2008 NEC or not, they should remember who really pays the price when safety is sacrificed.


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