When you have a baby, your health visitor will tell you that you need them. OFSTED inspectors insist on them being fitted in your child’s school. You see them everywhere; in your dentist’s surgery, your medical practice, the vets surgery where you take your pet and in all sorts of public buildings. All of the big stores, including Mothercare, sell them.

So a plug in socket cover must be safe, right?

No! Sadly that’s very, very wrong. In fact, they can be dangerous!

The Facts

British sockets are without a doubt the safest in the world. They are made to an exacting British Standard which govern their dimensions, both internally and externally. This British Standard also dictates the dimensions of the plugs which are inserted into them to supply electricity to your appliances. It also states that they must be fitted with shutters which cannot open unless something is inserted into the earth socket, which is why the earth pin on any plug is longer than the live and neutral pins. The live part of the socket is 9.6mm behind the shutters. This is why modern plugs have a plastic part immediately next to the plastic plug body, so as to eliminate as much as possible the likelihood of anyone being able to easily come into contact with an intentionally live part.

I’m proud to be involved in a campaign to get socket covers banned. There is absolutely no need for them. If you don’t believe me, go and buy a socket from your local electrical wholesaler, it shouldn’t cost you more than £2.00 for a cheap and nasty one. When you get it home, measure your toddler’s finger then try to get something the same size and insert it into the hole for the live pin (That’s the one on the bottom right as you look at the socket face) don’t try to push it in with the force an adult would have, think of the strength of a toddler. You’ll give up trying before you get through the shutter.

Now let’s look at the covers themselves which are supposed to make our sockets safe and childproof. These covers are NOT governed by the standards the manufacturers of plugs and sockets are required to work to BY LAW!

They are classed as toys! The only standard they must meet is that they must be unable to be swallowed. The pins on them can be made to any size and length, this means that they can damage the internal contacts of the sockets resulting in poor contact with socket pins. Poor contact causes a phenomenon known as arcing, this is where electricity “jumps” across small gaps, arcing causes heat and heat causes fires. Furthermore, some models are made of a soft, flexible plastic. This means that they can be inserted into a socket upside down, thus opening the shutters on the live pin and giving your toddler easy access to live parts! They can also snap very easily with the same result.

Now toddlers have no idea of what wires and their live parts are for which they need to be kept away from it so you can always call upon the 3 Best Electricians in Minneapolis, MN to manage the sockets so that they don’t do any internal damage to the pins inside as that would be disastrous as not only the fuse would go out, it can also cause harm to others in the vicinity if there is a short circuit.