Campaign to get rid of plug soccket covers.

(29 Posts)
StrandedBear Wed 11-Apr-12 15:41:48

I've seen time and again here that people don't know that they are dangerous.

It is high time that they were banned totally, I know that may seem difficult to do but the power of MN has shown itself on more than one occasion. And when it comes to the safety of children then IMO it is the upmost importance that things like this are bought to parents attention.

Plenty of information here and some really horrible videos on youtube.

I was wondering if MN could bring this to the attention of posters. Even if they are not banned, parents can make an informed decision on whether to use them or not.

ClaireAll Wed 11-Apr-12 15:45:43

I used various bits of safety equipment with my PFB, but soon came to the conclusion that it is better to teach the children to be safe, rather than leave them on an unsupervised roam through the house.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 11-Apr-12 21:29:06

Hi there Stranded. Thanks for flagging this up; we will have a think about what we can do. (Often, for very specific issues like this, just starting a thread in the appropriate topic and keeping it bumped can be the most effective way of informing other posters, so do feel free to do that if you want to!)

hermioneweasley Wed 11-Apr-12 21:32:47

I had no idea. Off to remove mine.

FannyPriceless Thu 12-Apr-12 10:20:21

Oh my god! I am going to remove all of mine when I get home today.

A question though. If you can insert a plug cover 'upsidedown' and make the socket live, could you not do the same thing with an actual electrical plug too?

StrandedBear Thu 12-Apr-12 11:33:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CrackedNipplesSuchFun Thu 12-Apr-12 15:13:36

Wow, I never knew this, thank you so much for bringing it to my attention. I shall definitely be sharing the link you posted StrandedBear to many parents.

HauntedLittleLunatic Thu 12-Apr-12 15:48:44

Hmm...interesting. my kids are all past this stage but had never considered this.

I guess there is an element of safety plugs being a deterrent and not replacement for 'parental supervision' in the same way as some kids that can over-ride a 5 point harness, although take on board that these things can actively damage a functioning product which is designed to meet safety standards.

I guess the only thing they protect from is someone actually putting something in the earth socket and then the live sockets...

Anyhow...pro's and cons tbh, but at the very least if they can be shown to have added safety benefits over an unprotected socket they should at least be protected by a British safety standard with rigorous requirements for dimensions.

I wonder what ofsteds opinion would be if they were to inspect a child minder or nursery and find no socket covers?

CrackedNipplesSuchFun Thu 12-Apr-12 16:31:04

Just to add to my previous message I just tried a real plug, doing it upside down and I am afraid to say that it does make the bottom two holes open ready for something to be jammed in.

CrackedNipplesSuchFun Thu 12-Apr-12 16:34:42

On doing some more reading and talking with fellow mums we have come to the conclusion, and a point made by HauntedLittleLunatic, that I think Ofsted wouldn't be too chuffed if they weren't used. I am going to stick with mine! Can't believe how full circle I have gone on this!

Does go to show though that many opinions does make forming your own much easier, so thank you. :-)

cate16 Thu 12-Apr-12 16:44:37

Ofsted CANNOT fail a setting for not using them.

Can't find the link at the moment - but I'm sure if you search the Ofsted site you should easily be able to find this information.

Flisspaps Thu 12-Apr-12 16:53:07

Haunted I was inspected and have no socket covers.

It was a complete non-issue, as long as you can show that you have ample security in place (eg British Standard compliant sockets, which all sockets fitted in homes since 1949 have!) then it's fine.

Cracked - something to consider is that if you have a vacant plug socket, generally there isn't a plug nearby to stick into it (otherwise it would already be in the socket!) so a child can't open the shutters easily - but if you put a socket cover in then you've provided something for the child to play with to put in an otherwise redundant socket.

nickelhasababy Thu 12-Apr-12 16:59:39

Cracked - your thing relies on there being a spare plug around.

you are less likely to take out a plug and plug it in somewhere else than you are to take a plug cover off in order to put something more exiting intothe socket.

CrackedNipplesSuchFun Thu 12-Apr-12 18:28:58

Thank you Cate and Flisspaps for correcting me on the Ofsted issue.

I also take on the points made by Nickel about the plug socket and a spare plug to play with. I mainly tried the 'upside down' thing with both a plug and a socket cover as Haunted asked a good question and wanted to try it for myself.

Flisspaps what is your opinion on socket covers? You say you were inspected so I assume you run a nursery or are a childminder? You opinion would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Flisspaps Thu 12-Apr-12 18:52:30

My opinion? I am a childminder, and I have a two year old daughter. I don't use socket covers, I don't see the point.

In fact, at my pre-reg visit I had a 'discussion' with the inspector about my lack of them, and pointed her in the direction of the fatally flawed page. The inspector that came to do my grading 6 months later wasn't bothered that I didn't have them. I got a Good rating.

I believe that some baby product sites have actually stopped stocking them on the basis that they're not actually safe (but I don't know who they are, that piece of information seems to have fallen out of my head!)

CrackedNipplesSuchFun Thu 12-Apr-12 19:23:20

Thank you for that Flisspaps, really do appreciate it. thanks

CarolinesDad Fri 13-Apr-12 04:05:24

For Ofsted's position, please see this thread

NannyPlumIsMyMum Fri 13-Apr-12 04:51:55

Completely agree Stranded .

nooka Fri 13-Apr-12 05:18:49

Has the design changed over the last few years? I remember using them when my children were small (they are 11 and 12 now, so a while ago) and the ones I had certainly covered the whole socket area. We stopped using them because they were so hard to get out of the sockets. I thought that they had three pins too? That article is certainly right about them being unnecessary given the design of UK sockets - I wonder why they were introduced in the first place? I certainly recall them being part of the 'must do' for toddler proofing.

HauntedLittleLunatic Fri 13-Apr-12 13:31:49

Just to clarify...I am not for or against them...I'm sitting on the fence....I was merely articulating some questions I had going round my head...to which you have provided answers. Ty.

CarolinesDad Fri 13-Apr-12 14:18:11

"I wonder why they were introduced in the first place?"

The FatallyFlawed team would love to know the answer to that question, and also when were they introduced?

We have asked many child care expects if they can cast light on when and why socket covers found their way on to UK sockets. So far no one has been able to answer that, or produce any evidence or UK study which would indicate their use.

In countries which do not have the benefit of inherently child-safe sockets then socket covers have some merit, but they are officially recognized as a very second-rate solution compared to putting the protection within the socket as our BS 1363 mandates. A number of designs sold in the UK are derived from mainland Europe devices, this is clear from their shape (the outline of a European plug). A number also incorporate a removal device which is specific to European recessed sockets rather than the flat sockets used in the UK and USA, again suggesting that UK socket covers leaked in from mainland Europe. However, there is currently no socket cover regulation in Europe, and the only regulatory plans being worked on are to require a move to protected sockets (as the UK has had since 1947) sometime in the future.

It is not even clear that there was ever any official Ofsted policy on their use. there is certainly plenty of evidence that inspectors frequently called for their use until Ofsted stamped down on that practice, but it seems to have been due to a culture of ignorance amongst the inspectors rather than any top-down requirement.

DilysPrice Fri 13-Apr-12 14:25:56

I'd suggest that a letter to Mothercare, John Lewis, GLTC, Argos and Lindam would be a good way to go - if they stop stocking "essential baby safety kits" including UK socket covers (EU ones for travel are very useful of course) then people will stop seeing them as a default option.

DilysPrice Fri 13-Apr-12 14:26:57

(oh, and Tesco and Boots)

HauntedLittleLunatic Fri 13-Apr-12 14:30:50

I think that is spot on.

They do have benefits in Europe where they don't have the inbuilt safety in sockets...and all of a sudden someone saw a market (which is different to benefit) for them here, and no doubt now we are stuck with them because no matter how hard you try people will always see them as a device to improve safety because that's what the manufacturers say.

BertieBotts Fri 13-Apr-12 14:47:40

It is bizarre, because it's not like they're expensive, so they can't make companies that much money. I suppose if they're sold as part of "safety kits" which contain other, more dubious items (such as guards for corners of tables etc) then parents might be more likely to buy the whole set rather than just getting e.g. cupboard locks.

You can't put an actual plug into a 3-pin socket because the gap between the top hole and the edge of the socket is too wide to allow a plug to be inserted upside down, and/or the plastic casing of the socket won't stick out far enough from the wall - the wall would stop the earth pin from going in far enough because of the bottom two pins. If you have any old extension leads though, it's worth checking these - DP has one which has a narrow enough strip of plastic at the top to allow a plug to be inserted upside down, and there is an old plug socket in DS's room which sticks out from the wall which potentially you could put a plug in upside down (I checked). Luckily he's not bothered about playing with it as he's past that age.

One thing I wonder about with the plug standards as outlined on that site are phone chargers. Some of them are very small now, the ones which convert a USB lead to mains for example, and there is one where the earth pin slides in between the others when not in use, to save space.

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