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How to Protect Electrical Sockets and Prevent Damage

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Electrical socket covers have been incorrectly described as ‘an absolute con and totally unnecessary’. But this and other criticisms relate to electrical socket inserts and not the widely respected SocketPro Safety Covers available from our store. In this post we clarify the difference between these products and demonstrate the benefits provided by our electrical socket covers.

British Plug and Socket Standards

The widely respected British 13 amp electrical plug and socket is recognised as the safest in the world. Back in the 1940s a committee was tasked by the government to improve the safety of electrical installations. Caroline Haslett, an electrical engineer and expert in home safety, is recognised for driving the development of our safe electrical sockets. The primary electrical socket design requirement was that it should not be possible for youngsters to come into contact with live electrical parts. The result was the socket design we see today which includes shutters covering both the live and neutral socket connectors, preventing anything from reaching the live parts. The shutters are opened by the earth pin of an inserted plug and automatically close when the plug is removed. The socket holes are specifically designed to be too small for a toddler to insert their tiny fingers.

UK law requires all electrical sockets must conform to the BS1363 standard, introduced in 1947, to ensure child safety. BS1363- applies to electrical plugs and BS1363-2 applies specifically to electrical sockets. This standard includes the following statement:

“Socket-outlets conforming to this standard are shuttered and therefore do not require the use of additional means to shield the current-carrying contacts when no plug is present in the socket-outlet.”

- BS-1363-

 

This clarifies the fact that our standards-compliant shuttered UK electrical sockets don’t require additional protection to prevent contact with live electrical contacts.

Socket Covers and Inserts

Unfortunately, confusion has arisen due to some electrical socket safety devices being referred to as ‘covers’ when in fact they are socket inserts. It has been alleged that socket cover suppliers have invented a myth that children can insert their fingers into unprotected sockets. It is suggested that this ‘fear’ has been used to market electrical socket safety devices which are potentially dangerous.

dangerous form of socket protectors
Electrical Socket Inserts - Potentially Dangerous

These electrical socket ‘covers’ are generally 3 pin plastic socket inserts (dummy electrical plugs) which are inserted into vacant electrical sockets, but they have significant design flaws. For example, if inserted upside down the fake earth pin will open the electrical socket safety shutters and dangerously expose the electrical connectors. These so-called ‘socket-protectors’ are not required to comply with any standards so the pin dimensions can vary along with the manufacturing quality and robustness, making them hazardous.

Socket Pro Socket Safety Covers prevent access to electrical sockets, switches and plugs without inserting anything into electrical sockets. They are genuine ‘covers’ that fit over electrical outlets without interfering with electrical connections. They are not `inserts` that adversely affect the inbuilt, standards compliant safety features of our UK sockets.

How SocketPro Safety Covers Work

The SocketPro range of socket protector covers are designed to be used with "flush fit" and "surface mount" sockets and switches. The covers simply clip over the facia plate of the switch or socket without any interaction with electrical wiring or the plug sockets. SocketPro Safety Covers are genuine ‘covers’ that don’t adversely affect the standards compliant safety features built into UK electrical sockets, unlike ‘inserts’ which are marketed as ‘covers’.

socketpro electrical socket protector
SocketPro Genuine Electrical Socket and Switch Covers

SocketPro Safety Covers are widely used in situations where its important to prevent people from unplugging or switching off electrical equipment.

  • In kitchens and hospitality venues these covers prevent freezers and other vital equipment from being powered-off.
  • In offices and commercial establishments, the covers prevent essential equipment such as computers, fax machines and payment processing terminals from being switched off or accidentally unplugged.
  • At home, these covers prevent the accidental or thoughtless removal of plugs while important electrical equipment is in use.

SocketPro covers also provide valuable protection against dirt, moisture and damage. Their splash-proof design makes them ideal for use in kitchens, bars and restaurants and they are widely appreciated in schools, colleges and factories where they are used to protect electrical outlets and prevent equipment from being switched off.

It`s worth noting there are other electrical socket cover designs on the market but quality varies. SocketPro Safety Covers are manufactured from high quality materials and considerately designed to provide long lasting, reliable service.

Toddler Protection

Youngsters are naturally inquisitive, rapidly developing capabilities to use tools and mimic the behaviour of adults. This is one of the key reasons why the insert style of electrical socket protector is so flawed. When a child sees an adult inserting and removing something from an electrical socket they are likely to emulate what they see. And if they successfully remove the insert-style of socket cover, reinserting it upside down can put them at risk by opening the internal socket shutters that prevent them from accessing dangerous, live electrical connectors. If they were to insert a knitting needle or something similar into one of these pin sockets while the protecting shutters are pushed out of the way they are likely to experience a serious electric shock.

Click here to see a video in which toddlers (including a one year old) demonstrate how they are readily able to remove electrical socket inserts, sold as electrical socket safety covers. The video demonstrates how youngsters might plug the insert into an electrical socket upside down, thereby opening the socket`s internal protective safety shutters, exposing both the live and neutral electrical terminals and breaching the rigorously tested safety features of the electrical socket. And the plastic earth pins on these inserts can break off inside electrical sockets, leaving the protective shutters permanently open, exposing the dangerous, live terminals. The dangers of this form of socket cover are fully explained in this additional video.

Toddlers are likely to copy their parents or carers, simply by removing electrical plugs or switching sockets off. Some parents have reported how their toddlers obsessively turn off electrical sockets and remove plugs including telephone chargers and modem power supplies, disabling their home internet connection. If a plug is delivering power to an important piece of household equipment, such as a freezer or refrigerator, significant waste or damage can occur.

SocketPro covers enhance the existing safety features built into our UK electrical sockets by preventing access to electrical sockets and stopping toddlers from switching things off or removing plugs.

socketpro with locking lid
SocketPro Cover with Locking Lid

SocketPro User Feedback

We continuously receive feedback from our customers telling us how beneficial SocketPro Safety Covers have been in their situations.

Many schools, for example, use SocketPro protective covers to prevent damage to their electrical outlets. Schools and colleges commonly use trolleys to move equipment around and accidently bumping into an electrical outlet can cause damage requiring expensive attention from a qualified electrician. SocketPro Safety Covers have been widely deployed in these environments where they protect electrical sockets and save money.

And many people tell us how they are using these robust covers to prevent electrical switches from being turned off. Here are some of our SocketPro product review submissions:

"Excellent safety product."

- Peter Boast

"Very Good it works so well and very good protection for Socket access."

- Ian McClelland

"... the Socket Pro Safety Covers for double gang sockets are absolutely great as a safety application...”

- Technician speaking on behalf of Mr Matt B - Devon

“... we`re using your Socket Pro Safety Covers to prevent switches being accidentally turned off ... this happened with our freezer before we had your product and we also have an electric pump on a septic tank which must have a continuous power supply - your Socket Pro Covers will be vital for this as well...”

- Mr Anthony H - Nottinghamshire

“Have received my Socket Pro Safety Cover ...it`s very effective...”

- Dr Roger B - Staffs

“I`ve received the Socket Pro Covers for single and double gang sockets. They are absolutely perfect and very easy to fit...”

- Mrs Joanne D of Gloucestershire

“Excellent
Bought to stop elderly mum with dementia switching everything off. Works a treat fully recommend.”

- 5567derek - Via EBay.

“Simple yet ingenius
Bought this for a Dementia sufferer who kept unplugging her alarm. This product is the perfect solution.”

- Josew-35 - Via EBay.

“Brilliant
So simple to install, will keep those tiny inquisitive fingers away.”

- Jenstock2019 - Via EBay.

 

If you have any questions about how to protect your electrical outlets or if you have any special requirements remember that we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll provide free, expert advice.

This message was added on Thursday 23rd June 2022

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