The Importance of Tamper Resistant Outlets

Ask any parent, young or old, and they will readily agree managing a household in today’s economy requires a certain degree of savvy in knowing which cost-cutting measures are a necessity. Yet few if any are willing to sacrifice home safety in the interest of cost-cutting, especially if there are little ones in the home (this is generally were the ‘savvy’ comes in). Criteria of this nature should naturally extend into all facets of house management but most importantly concerning electrical exposure. For the little people in your home, switches and lighting fixtures are for the most part out of reach but not so with the electrical outlets-they exist at eye level positioned right in the middle of their wheelhouse. 

Although childhood deaths from electrocution are considered rare, statistics from 2005 show that shocks have been known to lead to burns and/or neurological injuries occurring among children 6 years of age or less and are more common particularly in older homes. Devastating to all involved, these injuries are more likely when children play in low supervised home environments around electrical wires, electrical appliances, or outlets. Curiosity comes naturally to young ones who lack an inherent understanding of the potential danger they face. Savvy moms and dads who would never allow their children to play with matches can apply that same logic and eliminate childhood shock or electrocution by ensuring all receptacles in the home are upgraded to the new Code approved tamper-resistant duplex receptacle.

Tamper-resistant outlets were first introduced in the 2008 National Electrical Code and are mandatory for one- and two-family dwellings. It has since been expanded in the 2017 NEC (the current version in effect in New York State) to include mobile homes, guest suites in hotels/motels, child care facilities, business offices, corridors, waiting areas in medical and dental clinics, gymnasiums, skating rinks, auditoriums and dormitories. The ultimate goal of electrical safety is to eliminate the hazard and tamper-resistant outlets achieve that objective effectively and conclusively.


Tamper-resistant receptacles possess internal ‘shutters’ over each opening requiring equal pressure on both openings before allowing an object to pass. Insertion of an object in only one side (like a hairpin, paperclip or eating utensil) will not allow the shutters to release and thus open. However, a two or three-prong plug will release the spring and simultaneously open all shutters. Some of the best life-saving designs are the simple ones.

Outlets above 5 foot 6 inches are not required to be tamper-resistant but often are as an added safety feature. 

Since its inception, tamper-resistant design has spread to single receptacles such as used for window air conditioners (not just the standard duplex model), recessed outlets for wall-mounted televisions and even receptacles with built-in USB ports for easy access for battery supported electronic devices. 


The concept of a saver outlet in the home has been expanded recently to include outlet plates with built-in LED lighting for use as a night light. These revolutionary safe plates have built-in photocell capabilities allowing them to turn on in low light conditions and then off when ambient light reaches safe enough levels to allow easy passage.

For a quote to modernize and upgrade your home with these tamper-resistant safety features, or for any home-related electrical issue, please call a Lippolis Electric home specialist for a hassle-free (emphasis is on ‘free’) quote at 914-738-3550. You take care of the pampering; we will find ways to limit the tampering.


Lippolis Electric, Inc. | 538 Route 22, Pawling, NY 12564 | 845-855-1426 |