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Packets of socket covers should make it very clear that they are not a safety product

(46 Posts)
duchesse Wed 06-Oct-10 14:24:49

My friend told me the other day that if we wanted to be foster parents, we would have to abide by all standard safety rules, including socket covers.

Don't get me wrong, I can totally see the point of stair gates when receiving other people's toddlers into your house- you have no idea what the child's experience of stairs will have been.

But I would be mightily teed off to be obliged to install something in my house that at best does nothing but could at worst create danger.

Manufacturers of these things are less than candid about their dubious benefits, and state institutions (SS, children's centres, etc) seem to be unaware that they are at best unnecessary.

I just think that manufacturers should be obliged to state on the packaging that UK sockets do not need them. AIBU?

Flisspaps Wed 06-Oct-10 14:26:45

RoSPA don't recommend them

Poogles Wed 06-Oct-10 14:29:41

We have them all over the house. Assumed you needed them! Why aren't they needed in the UK?

MaeMobley Wed 06-Oct-10 14:30:20

RoSPA discourages the use of decorated covers.

RubberDuck Wed 06-Oct-10 14:31:01

It depends so much on the child too.

Ds1 pretty much avoided sockets and it was never an issue. Ds2 was fascinated no matter how much we tried to keep him away and would happily play with switches and poke stuff into the holes. Got socket covers for that limited time with ds2 as it seemed the lower risk.

MaeMobley Wed 06-Oct-10 14:31:08

At the age of 5 I stuck a wire coat hanger into a socket -not good.

duchesse Wed 06-Oct-10 14:32:15

from that RoSPA page (my arrows):

Protective Plastic Covers for 13-amp Socket Outlets

RoSPA recommends that small children are warned to keep away from electrical equipment until they are capable of understanding the risks and are able to use it safely.

-->Modern 13-amp power sockets made to BS 1363:1995 incorporate a shutter mechanism, which prevent inappropriate access to the live connectors. RoSPA therefore does not consider it necessary to recommend the use of socket covers.<--

RoSPA actively discourages the use of decorated socket covers, which are attractive to young children.

anonacfr Wed 06-Oct-10 14:32:17

How can socket covers create danger?

MaeMobley Wed 06-Oct-10 14:32:31

How do covers create danger?

duchesse Wed 06-Oct-10 14:33:14

Mae you would have had to stick 3 coat hangers in the socket - one in each hole- to get a shock.

Poogles Wed 06-Oct-10 14:33:30

At least we have boring white ones!

MaeMobley Wed 06-Oct-10 14:33:32


RubberDuck Wed 06-Oct-10 14:33:40

They interfere with the safety already built into the design of our wall sockets, Poogles.

massivemammaries Wed 06-Oct-10 14:33:49

because the live and neutral cannot open unless the earth pin is fully inserted. It is impossible for a childs fingers to touch anything dangerous unless they have a handy socket cover which can be inserted upside down.................

Habbibu Wed 06-Oct-10 14:34:08

here - they can undermine an existing safety feature.

MaeMobley Wed 06-Oct-10 14:34:09

I did get a shock but it was the Seventies and it was France so only 2 holes.

duchesse Wed 06-Oct-10 14:34:14

This explains it more clearly than I could

MaeMobley Wed 06-Oct-10 14:35:02

Sorry, not sure why the Seventies would be relevant!

RubberDuck Wed 06-Oct-10 14:35:22

Basically they remove the contact covers and expose the live parts of the plug, so if the socket cover is badly designed, it can actually make it easier to poke stuff in there and get electrocuted.

oneofthosedays Wed 06-Oct-10 14:35:31

Presumably they stop your toddler shoving something long, pointy and possible metal into a socket and electrocuting themselves?

ROSPA don't say the covers themselves are dangerous, just that they may attract more attention to the sockets. We have them at the insistance of DH but the kids have never really shown in interest in them anyway. We've never had locks on the kitchen cupboards either, even, shock horror, the cleaning cupboard!! Medicines are kept way up high.

duchesse Wed 06-Oct-10 14:36:16

It is sort of relevant actually Mae, because modern European sockets have an earth hole as well now. Except they still don't have the same safety mechanism as we do in the UK.

nocake Wed 06-Oct-10 14:37:11

Another person talking sense smile

UK sockets are designed to be safe and it is very, very difficult for a child to come into contact with any live parts. If you combine them with a modern switch board it is impossible to get a shock even if the child does manage to get through the safety shutter.

RubberDuck Wed 06-Oct-10 14:39:47

No, some of the socket covers DONT prevent something long pointy and metal into a socket - you need to check the position of the prongs compared to the edge of the cover and how flush the cover is.

As I say, we only bothered because ds2 had an unnatural fixation and it seemed the lesser of two evils.

massivemammaries Wed 06-Oct-10 14:40:47

Mae you would have had to stick 3 coat hangers in the socket - one in each hole- to get a shock

Not true actually. you only need to come into contact with the live to get a shock so if the earth pin is inserted or the shutter is damaged then a coat hanger in a socket could easily be lethal. The shutters have only been fitted to sockets for about the last 15 years so if the house is due a rewire then socket covers are a very good idea

nocake Wed 06-Oct-10 14:41:43

A safer option, if you have older sockets, is to replace them with modern sockets.

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