What to Know About Childproofing With Tamper-Resistant Outlets

Lauren Wellbank
Written by Lauren Wellbank
Updated January 17, 2022
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Highlights

  • Tamper-resistant outlets are spring-loaded to prevent unwanted items from generating an electrical current.

  • These outlets add an extra layer of protection and can be used alongside other childproofing methods.

  • You can hire an electrician to replace your existing outlets with tamper-resistant outlets.

  • Every home can benefit from tamper-resistant outlets, not just those with children currently living in them.

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Anyone who has ever childproofed their home knows that preventing curious children from accessing electric outlets is a top priority. However, the little plastic caps that are commonly sold in childproofing kits may not go far enough to prevent electrical accidents—they’re rarely much of a match for an eager toddler looking to explore or make a little mischief. Tamper-resistant outlets are a more efficient way to keep your family safe at home.

How Do Tamper-Resistant Outlets Work?

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Tamper-resistant outlets add an extra layer of babyproofing to your home because they come outfitted with a spring-loaded shutter. When the outlet’s not in use, the shutter pops close to internally block the slots (also known as contact openings). 

When you’re ready to use the outlet, all you have to do is push a plug into the contact openings, and the will springs compress, allowing the shutters to open and the metal prongs to create an electrical current. 

You need to compress both springs simultaneously to allow them to move, which can prevent a child from accidentally creating an electrical current by inserting toys or other objects into one of the slots.

Outlet Safety in Living and Entertainment Spaces

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It’s always exciting when a child reaches a new milestone—like sitting up on their own, crawling, and walking—but each new stage means the way they explore the world will change as well. Once your baby is on the move, you’ll need to ensure you practice good electrical safety tips and make sure any outlets they have access to are covered. That means using tamper-resistant outlets on all of your lower outlets in common areas and every outlet in their room.

You should even install them in outlets normally covered by furniture like beds and TV stands. You can also move furniture over time, and as far off as it may feel now, someday that nursery will turn into a big kid room with big kid furniture. With the proper outlets already installed, it will take one thing off of your plate while you’re busy mulling over new paint colors.

Buying Tamper-Resistant Outlets 

You can typically find these types of outlets at any department store. A pro will install these electrical outlets the same way as their standard counterparts. You can expect to pay around $214 per outlet when you hire a local electrician. We recommend turning to a pro for any and all wiring work, so that’s your best bet.

Layer Your Outlet Protection

Tamper-resistant outlet covers offer an extra layer of protection, but they’re not the only option you can use. If you’ve ever been around a toddler or small child, you know that when there’s a will, there’s a way, so it can still be a good idea to use those plastic caps as well. 

Do You Need Tamper-Resistant Outlets?

Even if you don’t have children living in your home, The National Fire Prevention Association still recommends installing tamper-resistant outlets when you’re replacing your existing outlets. 

Not only is your home likely to change hands at some point, but you may have young children over as guests. Making the switch even if you don’t currently have children living with you at the moment will help protect any future pint-sized visitors to your home.

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