Effective January 1, 2008, all 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere electrical receptacles in new residential construction must be tamper-resistant receptacles. Tamper-resistant receptacles have built-in shutter systems that prevent foreign objects from touching electrically live components when they're inserted into the slots. The shutters protect against electrical burns without impairing normal plug insertion, removal or function.
The move comes in an effort to better protect small children from suffering electrical burns when they accidentally insert items into conventional outlets. According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data, approximately 2,400 children suffer electrical injuries each year from incidents involving electrical outlets or receptacles.
To educate the public about the change, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has developed an educational campaign to generate awareness. Videos, posters, bulletins and a public relations program are part of the program.
"With these alarming statistics, one might think that Code acceptance shouldn't be up for debate, but some have opposed the changes," said Andrei Moldoveanu, technical director, NEMA.
"The tamper-resistant Code requirement is about safety, period. We have the opportunity to protect thousands of children from electrical burns and spare them visits to emergency rooms. Child safety is a primary concern for NEMA, as it should be for the rest of the industry." NEMA estimates that tamper-resistant receptacles will add less than $50 to the cost of a new home's electrical system.
Leviton is among the first manufacturers in the industry to offer a complete line of 2008 NEC Code Section 406.11-compliant tamper-resistant receptacles.
For more information, visit the campaign Web site at childoutletsafety.org