Similar to this question, but the answer isn't relevant to me.

I have small kids and power outlets.

I want to disable the outlets in a trivially-reversible way. Ideally by covering them over, so there aren't attractive holes in the wall to poke.

I also have a 3d Printer.

I could solve my problem by printing up plastic covers to either replace the faceplates (but cover the actual receptacles), or by printing plastic covers to cover over the entire outlet, faceplate and all. I prefer the first option, because it's slightly less work (pretty much entirely on the design side).

I'm in the US. Do either of these approaches have any code implications? Will I create any hazards with either approach?

Addendum: I'm aware of the choking-hazard outlet covers. We faithfully got those and applied them; the first two kids have each thought they were great toys. Oh such times we had! They learned to remove, chew, and replace the outlet covers, and how easy it is to stick something in there if you work at it. And we learned that those little outlet covers are an attractive nuisance that is worse than bare outlets.

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    3D printed face plates are not tested(UL) to be code(think wrong plastic, fumes from fire). There are outlet covers to make outlets safer you can buy. In the 60s my parents said I was always trying to stick things into outlets, I turned out mostly okay. Turning off the breakers for those outlets will make them safe enough. 3D printers do make nice covers.
    – crip659
    Commented Dec 6, 2022 at 21:32
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    There are so many commercial options for cheap. Don't make something that is untested and might actually be more dangerous than nothing. amazon.com/s?k=outlet+covers+baby+proofing Commented Dec 6, 2022 at 21:41
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    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact I still have my hair.
    – crip659
    Commented Dec 6, 2022 at 21:55
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    You seem to be fishing for an excuse to use your fancy printin' gizmo. This isn't it. It get it. I have one myself, but just buy some tried-and-true press-in plugs and move on to bonsai pots and pill bottle screw caddies.
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 6, 2022 at 22:30
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    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 17:31

8 Answers 8


They make "electrical outlet plug covers" for that purpose. They're cheap and available many places...I'd just get those.

If you're good with electrical and have a lot of time, you could go crazy and cap off the electrical connections, remove the outlets, and put blank outlet covers on... but that would be overkill.

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    Yeah! But instead of putting blank covers on, make them look the same, but dispense candy when you put something into the slots :) Commented Dec 7, 2022 at 17:12
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    I realize that the OP is probably in the US, but can I insert my standard rant about such plug covers being a major safety hazard in the UK please? The problem is that UK sockets are shuttered - it is impossible to reach live parts without an earth pin opening the shutter. The plug covers are flexible enough that it is possible to turn them upside down, insert the earth pin into the socket to open the shutter, and then reach the live parts with a conductive probe. Who would do such a crazy thing? You haven't met many inquisitive three year old's have you? Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 15:34

Replacement faceplates would need to be UL-Listed. 3D-print ten of them and send them to UL with a $10,000 check :) No, don't :)

I would hit the local shop for the smallest steel outlet cover plate they sell, which isn't terribly large. Steel plates are safer than plastic ones. Then I would design and 3D-print a plastic cover that goes over top of that. No matter how flammable your 3D resin might be, it's not going to apply enough heat to penetrate the steel plate and attack wiring.

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    Or, vice-versa, that the electrical fire started inside the box will get out to melt/burn the 3D-printed pretty plate and produce toxic fumes.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 7, 2022 at 13:29
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    If you have ANY listed cover plate and a fire in the box is so severe as to burn its way through that, metal or not, and ignite your purely decorative, non-permanent, additional cover, I do not think the flammability of that additional cover is of any concern. It's the least of your issues. In fact, if it produces enough smoke to trigger the detectors before the entire wall is aflame, all the better.
    – jay613
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 17:34

Assuming the USA, The new duplex outlets have shutters to prevent just this (tamper resistant outlets). It is my understanding they are required by code in the US. I had to install them a few years back when remodeling. Just the new ones the old ones were ok until they were replaced. If you do this yourself be sure to take pictures of how everything is connected especially any duplex outlets that work or partially work with a switch. Before removing the wires check there is a shorting bar between the two screws one on each side, be sure to note if there, if not you need to remove the same on the new outlet or things will not turn on or off properly.

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    Not trying to be a smart alec. Why does my local big box store still sell the non-TR residential receptacles in contractor 10 packs?
    – RetiredATC
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 4:30
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    Probably to use up there stock. What you do if you had thousands of those and the code changed, you probably could not return them so you have two choices eat them or sell them. There is a large part of the US that does not enforce the NEC, many areas have not even adopted it. You get into rural area and there may not even be inspectors etc.
    – Gil
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 4:34
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    Given the full question, this should be the accepted answer. TR outlets are the answer to OP's issue.
    – user82600
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 18:19

You cannot cover a live receptacle using a method that has permanent implications. You can remove the receptacle, feed-through the circuit properly and then put a blank cover over the box, which is a bit ridiculous. Or you can insert simple, inexpensive, difficult to remove child-proof receptacle guards meant for your exact issue. You're not the only one who has this problem - why over complicate it?

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    ...but if you remove the receptacle, you are violating code by not having required receptacles installed.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Dec 6, 2022 at 23:35
  • Not really...A dwelling must be provided with the proper amount of receptacles upon taking ownership. Removing some in a responsible, compliant manner for personal reasons doesn't violate code. While I think doing so for child-proofing reasons is ridiculous, the point here is to answer the question. A home inspection may reveal insufficient amount of receptacles, but it's not a fineable violation or hazard at that point. Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 0:34

I would start by changing out to tamper resistant outlets. https://www.amazon.com/Leviton-T5325-WMP-Resistant-Receptacle-M22-Straight/dp/B005LVI7BM/ref=sr_1_5


If you have a house fire and the adjustor finds your custom and non-UL listed devices on outlets then good luck with the blame-game.

If you have the means then replace the receptacles with TR (tamper resistant) ones. I've read they're even safer than the plugs. You would have to try really hard to get electrocuted by a TR receptacle; https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Top-fire-causes/Electrical/Tamper-resistant-electrical-receptacles.

A high-yield and low effort option could be to use a GFCI breaker or receptacles so that even the slightest short protects the receiver.

If you want to go banana-jammas then put these outlets on a switch.


Tamper-resistant outlets are the best solution, though it will require re-wiring, which is not nearly as fun as 3D-printing. Outlet protectors require less effort, and (contrary to the OP's experience) can actually be effective depending on the type. We originally bought clear, flexible, 2-prong outlet protectors (ours from GE) when my son was born, and at age one he found he could wiggle them out and chew on them. We later happened on some rigid, three-prong outlet protectors (ours from Nivlle, came with a set of drawer locks) that are difficult even for an adult to remove due to the fact that the ground plug prevents the cover from wiggling.

Two different outlet protectors


How about just going to the circuit breaker box, and turning off the relevant breakers.

You can turn them back on as needed.

  • Most times receptacles share their circuits with light fixtures or with receptacles in other rooms. Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 0:39

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