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Each year, approximately 2,400 children suffer severe shock and burns when they stick items into the slots of electrical receptacles - that is nearly seven children a day. It is estimated that there are six to 12 fatalities a year related to this. Nearly one-third of these injuries are the result of small children placing ordinary household objects, such as keys, pins, or paperclips into the outlets with disastrous consequences.
Located in practically every room in every house throughout the United States, electrical outlets and receptacles represent a constant and real danger wherever young children are found.
But now, new technology called tamper resistant receptacles, or TRRs, provide a simple, affordable, reliable, and permanent solution to help prevent these kinds of injuries.
TRRs look just like ordinary outlets, but are designed with spring-loaded receptacle cover plates that close off the receptacle openings, or slots.
When equal pressure is simultaneously applied to both sides, the receptacle cover plates open to allow the standard plug to make contact with the receptacle contact points. Without this simultaneous pressure, the cover plates remain closed, preventing insertion of foreign objects and protecting your children from painful, traumatic electrical injuries.
Although not widely used in homes until recently, TRRs have been required in hospital pediatric care facilities for more than 20 years. In fact, TRRs have proven to be so effective that the National Electrical Code (NEC) now requires them to be installed in all new home construction. Existing homes can be easily retrofitted with TRRs using the same installation guidelines that apply to standard receptacles. TRRs should only be installed by a licensed electrician.
Though some special interest groups have voiced objections to the NEC revision because of concerns about the added costs, these specialized outlets cost about $0.50 more than a traditional receptacle.
In a newly constructed home, TRRs would add as little as $50 to the total cost of the home. In existing homes, standard electrical receptacles can be replaced with TRRs for as little as $2 per outlet – a small price to pay to ensure that your children are protected against electrical shocks and burns from electrical outlets.