New code makes power outlets safer

OTTAWA, CANADA - The Canadian Standards Association has produced a new electrical code that should help reduce the chances of children being electrocuted in their homes.

The code, which is expected to be adopted by the provinces and territories, requires that new homes and renovation projects use tamper-proof electrical outlets.

The receptacles have a built-in shutter system designed to prevent foreign objects such as pins, keys or nails, from touching the live electrical wires. The shutters automatically open when the two prongs of an electrical plug are inserted in the receptacle. "But if you try to put something in just one [of the outlet slots], it won't work," explained Stephen Brown of the CSA.

Over the course of a six-year study, researchers found that 365 children in Canada received electric shocks by sticking objects into household electrical outlets. Many parents have tried to make their homes safer by placing plastic covers over electrical outlets. But such covers can still be removed by curious kids. The new code "will certainly protect many, many children who have not been protected until now," Mr. Brown said.


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