'Real Safety' Campaign Pushes for Tamper-Resistant Outlets

Each year, approximately 2,400 American children are injured by incidents involving electrical outlets. In a move to safeguard children and protect against outlet-related accidents, the 2008 National Electric Code (NEC) mandates that only tamper-resistant electrical outlets be installed in new residential facilities.

Tamper-resistant outlets have built-in shutter systems that prevent foreign objects from touching electrically live components when they are inserted into the slots. The shutters protect against electrical burns without limiting normal plug insertion, removal or function.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), a member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and accredited standards developer, has launched an educational campaign called "Real Safety" to generate public awareness about tamper-resistant outlets.

Targeting electricians, inspectors, distributors, builders, parents and new homeowners, the campaign identifies the dangers that electrical outlets pose to children, educates users about tamper-resistant functionality and advocates adoption of the NEC.

"The tamper-resistant Code requirement is about safety, period. We have the opportunity to protect thousands of children from electrical burns and spare them visits to emergency rooms," said Andrei Moldoveanu, technical director, NEMA. "Child safety is a primary concern for NEMA, as it should be for the rest of the industry."

According to NEMA estimates, tamper-resistant outlets would add less than $50 to the cost of a new home's electrical system.

For more information, campaign literature, or to view an educational video about tamper-resistant outlets, visit www.childoutletsafety.org.

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