I was reading the latest entry on this blog and I saw that she'd mentioned that they'd installed some child-proof outlets. But they don't look any different from normal outlets to me!

What's the difference between child-proof outlets and normal ones? How would I go about installing them, if I needed to?

1 Answer 1


A child-proof, or tamper resistant (TR for short) receptacle, has a spring-loaded cover over the electrical contacts that retracts when both pins of the plug press against it. You need to push against both sides simultaneously, and some force is required to open the cover, making it difficult for a child to get something in far enough to get a shock.

A regular outlet doesn't have that cover, so a child can easily push something into the slot, touching the electrical contact and getting a shock.

Installation is exactly the same as for a regular receptacle (as you noted, they look identical from the outside).

Some other points:

  • The 2008 NEC requires TR outlets in new construction and renovations (thank you, @Tester101).
  • TR outlets are somewhat more expensive than regular.
  • TR outlets grip the plug much more firmly than regular ones, reducing the risk of them pulling out accidentally.
  • To any new parents - they are well worth the effort to install. My 1 year old could yank out those plug-in receptacle covers in a brand new outlet within about 10 unattended seconds. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 16:01
  • 3
    It might be worth mentioning that these receptacles are now required in new builds and renovations by code (NEC, and possibly others).
    – Tester101
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 16:19
  • @tester101: thank you, incorporated into my answer.
    – Niall C.
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 23:58
  • 1
    Here's a great animation that shows how these work: leviton.com/OA_HTML/…
    – gregmac
    Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 21:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.