Replace standard electrical outlets with tamper-resistant outlets for a safer home. They're inexpensive and easy to install.
The interior cover on a tamper-resistant outlet opens only when two plug prongs push on it simultaneously.
Turn off the power at the main electrical service panel and remove the outlet. Hold the non-contact voltage detector against each wire in the box to make sure the power is off before removing the old outlet.
The price of tamper-resistant outlets has dropped to about a buck apiece, now that they're required by electrical code and manufacturers have ramped up production. Replace the outlets in the rooms your kids use the most and get rid of those pesky plastic outlet plugs, which are inconvenient to use, easily lost and a choking hazard. The new tamper-resistant outlets look just like regular outlets but have an interior cover that will open only when the two prongs of a plug are inserted simultaneously. This prevents children from sticking something into one of the slots and getting burned or electrocuted.
According to a 10-year report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 2,400 children receive emergency room treatment every year for injuries caused by inserting objects into electrical outlets.
CONNECT the new wires to the new outlet: white (neutral) wire to a silver-colored terminal screw; black (hot) wire to a gold-colored terminal screw; bare wire to the green grounding screw. Make sure the cable sheath remains secured inside the box.
Replacing an outlet is simple. Start by turning off the circuit breaker or removing the fuse that controls the outlet at the main service panel. Then, after checking to make sure there's no power to the outlet, carefully unscrew the outlet and replace it with a tamper-resistant version.
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.