…and will play an important next step to making your home a safer place for children.
According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data, each year, approximately 2,400 children suffer burns and severe shock when they stick items into the slots of electrical outlets. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that there are six to twelve child fatalities a year related to this.
The new National Electrical Code® (NEC®) now requires new homes as well as any renovations to have tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles installed. These new receptacles have spring-loaded shutters that close off the contact openings of the receptacles. When a plug is inserted into the receptacle, both springs are compressed and the shutters then open, allowing for the metal prongs to make contact to create an electrical circuit. Because both springs must be compressed at the same time, the shutters do not open when a child attempts to insert an object into only one contact opening, and there is no contact with electricity.
Most often power outlet accidents by children are with parents or caregivers who look away for just a moment, only to face undue tragedy and pain as the result of a child’s curiosity. The NEC’s mission is to provide electrical safety in the home. Tamper-resistant receptacles are a simple and easy way to protect children from serious injuries that continue to happen every year.
Once the code changed and we started using tamper-resistant receptacles on our projects, we have found that the new tamper-resistant receptacles add about $0.50 to the cost of an unprotected receptacle. On a national average, most homes have about 75 receptacles resulting in an overall added cost of under $40. This amount may vary slightly based on the type and style of tamper-resistant receptacle used. Point being, this is a minimal increase in cost and it buys a significant increase in electrical safety for our children.
You may be familiar with those plastic outlet protectors sold in the childproofing sections of retailers. Parents, you know the ones. The ones where you break your fingernails back trying to remove the things every time you want to vacuum. They are plastic inserts that fit into the slots of the outlet preventing a child from inserting an object. Some parents may feel a little uneasy about the effectiveness of these devices. And some may debate if receptacle caps can be removed by children. These inserts can be lost also may be a choking hazard for some ages.
Increasing awareness of child electrical safety, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association has developed a program titled Real Safety that identifies the dangers electrical receptacles may pose to children, educating users about tamper-resistant receptacle function. For more information on Real Safety visit the website at www.childoutletsafety.org.
Chad D. Collins, Accredited Master Builder
An area native, NC Licensed General Contractor, National Association of Home Builders Master Certified Green ProfessionalTM, and Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, Chad is one of less than 50 Accredited Master Builders in the state. He achieved this professional designations after years of experience and numerous hours of coursework via the NC Builder Institute. Chad has been an active member of the building industry since the early 1990’s. He joined the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties in 2005. Chad was soon named HBA Recruiter of the Year and he subsequently chaired various HBA committees. Chad is a Licensed Home Inspector, as well as, a Licensed Lead Abatement professional.
In addition to industry awards in recognition of excellence in home building and remodeling, Collins Design-Build has twice been named Building Company of the Year via the HBA’s Triangle Sales and Marketing Council MAME (Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence) Awards. The company has also received a Best Green Built Home STARS Award from the NCHBA. Currently, Chad serves as 1st Vice President of the HBADOC, and recently completed one of Durham’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) residential projects. LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, projects must satisfy pre-requisites and earn points to achieve various levels of achievement.
In 2014 Chad was selected as the HBADOC 2014 Builder of the Year and recently honored at The International Builders Show in Las Vegas as the NAHB’s Certified Green Home Professional of the Year.
This post was written by Chad Collins