Kid-Safe Electrical Outlet Covers

Category: Childproofing

It's high-end, but the Safe-Plate childproof outlet cover is a nicely engineered solution that might merit a place in one or two rooms of your house.

Our Review

Welcome to the place where home improvement and childbirth's the latest category in our Reviews section: Childproofing!

For starters, we began looking into electrical outlet solutions last weekend while we were stroller shopping. (You'll have to look elsewhere for your stroller reviews...sorry.) It'll be quite a while until our kid is mobile enough for it to matter, but right now our outlets don't have any faceplates at all so it was kinda on our minds anyway.

Initially, we found a few non-descript options at our local Home Depot, but J had read several blogs and websites (such as Consumer Reports) that spoke highly of the Mommy's Helper brand so we decided to wait until we were at a proper baby store before we purchased anything.

Sure enough, upon making a trek downtown to the closest Right Start store, we found a wealth of baby-safe options to stop everything from kids drinking toilet water to little hands turning on the stove and burning tiny fingers.

"Man, you could leave a kid home alone all the time if you bought all this stuff," I remarked. The mother pushing her stroller by at the time didn't seem to approve, and Jeannie briefly acted like she was shopping alone.

Anyway, the store carried several products for protecting electrical outlets and Mommy's Helper did seem to be the stronger brand. We were especially impressed by their Safe-Plate, which is pictured at the top of this entry.

The Safe-Plate is a full replacement for an existing electrical faceplate. It sticks out from the wall about 3/4", which allows for a thin sliding coverplate. When you want to plug an appliance or light fixture in, you simply slide the cover over. When you later remove the electric cord the cover snaps closed again through an internal spring. Neat!

Like all obscure, clever inventions the Safe-Plate doesn't come cheap. In fact, for the price of just one Safe-Plate you could childproof 32 outlets using simpler outlet plugs (Note from J: Be careful which brand of plugs you purchase, because some can be a choking hazard if the kid gets them pried out of the socket.):

If you ask me this kid looks like he's about to figure out how to get the darn thing off, but I'm sure they work with most kids.

In the end, we decided to go with the cheaper outlet plugs but we did buy one Safe-Plate for the nursery. We're thinking it will be useful to have at least one outlet that you can easily plug and unplug regularly without having to remember where you put that little plastic plug.

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We have the outlet plugs in our house and if they are fully in place you almost need a screwdriver to get them off.

Also, keep in mind some of the safety covers for appliances that need to stay plugged in, like lamps, a baby monitor, etc. We found that the Safety first covers work well. There is a face plate and then a cover that fits over the face plate making it impossible for the kids to get to the plugs.

We went with the outlet plugs too. Most of the stuff that is plugged in, is behind a table, or cabinet. We forgot to replace the plug on one once, and Seth put the handle of a toy ladle in the plug. He was alright. The nursery might not need outlet plugs, until the baby plays up there alone. For us, it's the living room that is most important, since that's where he plays.

Hey that's pretty cool. I have those plugs everywhere in my house, but I agree they are a real pain in the neck. I end up killing my fingers prying them off. My wife bought some cheap hard plastic ones that broke off in a new outlet in our new bathroom. Wish we had one of those pictured above.

I used the plug-in type and never had a problem with my daughter pulling them out so I think it just depends on how you feel about it (this is also what our pediatrician used in her practice). For appliances that stayed plugged-in, I used a srew-on plate that would then snap down or up over the plugs on the outlet, these worked great.

These comments make me wonder how we survived these hazards in my day...POPS --30--

I have those cheapo temporary plugs throughout my house. While the picture looks like the kid is about to pull out the plug....I can testify they are a lot more difficult to get out than that. In fact, there are some outlet that I just don't use anymore because getting out the plugs is Mission Impossible involving tools and brocken fingernails.

I don't have the plugs in my house for kids. One added (yet, rarely touted) benefit of the plugs/covers is that they stop the flow of cold air into/hot air out of your house. When I had an infrared reading done of my house last winter, I was blown AWAY by how much energy loss there was through outlets on external walls.

I tried the plastic plugs and something similar to the outlet cover you found. All 3 of my kids were able to defeat the plastic plugs once they hit about 2 yrs old. Our outlets are pretty old so they do not fit as tightly as I would like.
The outlet cover was trickier for them but I saw our last one move it over with a plastic toy.
As I am rewiring our old house, I have been replacing them with tamper-resistant outlets from Pass & Seymour. So far so good.

As a kindergarten teacher I had one child screw off a heavy brass electric outlet cover and unwind a paperclip and put the two together. The kid was OK, but after 5 years the district never replaced the outlet which sparked and blew up! I guess with 32 kids in a room, I overlooked him during our circle time, even though he was only 5 feet in front of me! As for my own 2 kids, they outsmarted all the drawer and door latches quickly, so they were worthless, except for slowing down all the adults. I did very little bably proofing of our 100 year old graystone apt, and they lived to tell about it. (Third floor no less!) The best idea was bells on the two exit doors. Best Wishes!

As the father of 2 year old twin boys, save your money and buy the cheap plug covers. If you really want to child-proof your outlets, install arc-fault breakers in the service panel, expensive but safer. I don't think I would waste money on other items, I don't believe there is a product made that my two boys,working together, cannot open or bypass. I did use toilet locks, be sure to practice how open them quickly before you install them!

I bought these Mommy's Helpers Safe Plates and I love them. Not only do I not have to worry about my DD getting the outlet cover off, if she unplugs something and I do not notice or know about it then I know that the sliding protector thing is closing off the outlet. I think they are awesome and well worth the extra expense. Kids are just too darn curious to scrimp on the outlet safety items, IMHO.

How much were the ones that you pictured above? I can't seem to find very accurate pricing.

- Brandon Hopkins

I'm looking to push a chest up against the wall, but I need a lamp plugged in behind it which forces the chest to stick out away from the wall.
Any electrical cord solutions?


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