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Results: Should the government ban 'safety' socket covers


76.40% • 68 votes


23.60% • 21 votes

You may not vote on this poll

89 votes in total.

    • baldelectrician
    • By baldelectrician 21st Aug 17, 4:20 PM
    • 2,360Posts
    • 1,621Thanks
    Safety socket covers - UNSAFE
    • #1
    • 21st Aug 17, 4:20 PM
    Safety socket covers - UNSAFE 21st Aug 17 at 4:20 PM
    As some of you may know I carry out electrical safety checks as part of my business and there is a campaign in the electrical industry to make people aware of the dangers of these so called safety devices which put children at risk.

    I have contacted several well known brands and received responses.

    The site has details on this.

    The NHS in England, Wales and Scotland issued a directive instructing these to be removed from use in all NHS premises as well as doctors and GP surgeries.

    The socket manufacturers association (BEMA) also advise these should not be used

    I note you have MK sockets in your centre-you should be advised that MK support the BEMA guidance and are of the opinion that these socket covers should not be used on their sockets – Hager (another quality manufacturer) state the same.

    IKEA have removed them from sale as they deem them unsafe.

    So far I have contacted the following businesses:
    Maplin- they have a low stock and will not be reordering them in - so partial good result (although they could take the less than 60 they have left all over the UK and bin them)

    B&Q -
    Standard holding response- no action
    Thank you for your email dated 12.08.17, please accept our apologies for the delay in my response.

    We appreciate the information you have given us in relation to our product 03621325. Your comments and feedback will be took on board, logged and passed over to our Quality department where they can investigate further into this.

    B&Q always welcome feedback from our customers regarding any of our products or services and we are very grateful that you have taken the time and trouble to bring this matter to our attention.

    Thank you for contacting B&Q.

    If I can be of any further assistance to you please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Mothercare- reply effectively brushing off the concern

    Please see the below response I have received from our buying team:

    It is understandable that the NHS would ban the covers as they have a lot of sockets that are not always in view of staff who have other matters to attend to. Our covers are designed for in house use where the parent would almost always be present. Since we started selling the covers and to date there have been no complaints of injuries etc that you would expect if the product was in fact ‘unsafe’. Whilst Mr McLintock may feel the product is unsafe there is no data to back this up. Safety is of paramount importance to Mothercare and we would not knowingly sell any product we knew to be unsafe. We will continue to monitor returns/reviews on this item going forward.

    Please also see the response from our supplier:
    Our UK Plug Socket Covers are designed to solely PREVENT a small child inserting sharp or small objects into a plug socket / electrical outlet. They are designed to cover the socket, hiding the socket to REDUCE any temptation for a child to play or investigate or insert any objects into the electrical outlet. They aesthetically hide the holes of the outlet and provide peace of mind to parents.

    The worst response was Tesco- the guy called (his name was Keir D...) to read a statement and said he would not have any conversation other than the pre-prepared statement.

    Hello ...

    As discussed on the phone this is our reply to the issue you raised.

    “Thank you for your concern, I’m sorry for the delay in responding, I wanted to make sure we looked into this properly for you as we take child safety very seriously. Our range of socket covers, both from Tesco and our online Partners, are designed to give the option of this feature for those who may wish to use them. All covers sold by Tesco are from recognized brands who take pride in ensuring their products are manufactured to a high standard of quality and safety.”


    Tesco Customer Service

    The Tesco one was basically the worse. No response to the actual concerns raised- I asked him if the socket covers were safe which British standard they met, he refused to have any more conversation and that was that

    I am quite disappointed in Tesco as I thought they were better than this.

    baldly going on...
Page 3
    • kittykat7210
    • By kittykat7210 30th Oct 18, 12:02 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    I remember being a kid and sticking them in upside down, it does happen, and frequently! Although I was never electrocuted it was appealing to flick the switches (they made a noise) and I found it fun that I could change the socket cover to being upside down! I will never use them in my house, and I will also say that my daughter never goes near our switches, simply because we don’t draw attention to them so she’s not bothered by them.

    Socket covers just draw attention to the plug sockets, it turns something fairly boring into a game.

    Not to mention the fact that socket covers actually damage the socket because they are made too big to remove easily, effectively causing strain on the socket itself.
    • YBR
    • By YBR 27th Dec 18, 3:14 PM
    • 97 Posts
    • 87 Thanks
    I regularly demonstrate to people how their Socket Cover can be used to defeat the shutters and make their socket unsafe. I explain how they are unregulated and gradually damage sockets as the pins are the wrong size. Nobody I spoke to ever knew that before I got on my soap box.

    At my church they have all been removed and the pre-school that meets there has no issues with that (nor does Ofsted). But they keep reappearing. The Safety Officer and I still have to remove, bust and bin random socket covers on occasion!

    At many places I visit they have socket covers in some but not all sockets. That's hopeless either way. I do try to use that as a way to start a conversation ...
    • jimbo6977
    • By jimbo6977 23rd Mar 19, 9:41 PM
    • 432 Posts
    • 246 Thanks
    it's pretty easy to open the earth shutter using some plastic object and wedge something in the live/neutral holes. as anyone who's spent time living in europe and returned to the uk will tell you. quicker and easier than replacing the plug.
    • rustywallet
    • By rustywallet 28th Jun 19, 8:36 PM
    • 128 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    Is he safest option to get an electrician to put a blank cover on a socket that is in a potentially dangerous place for a small child? I have a socket right by a child's bed, I worry they might spill a drink of put their fingers in the socket.
    • grumbler
    • By grumbler 25th Oct 19, 5:08 PM
    • 51,783 Posts
    • 21,965 Thanks
    Is he safest option to get an electrician to put a blank cover on a socket that is in a potentially dangerous place for a small child? I have a socket right by a child's bed, I worry they might spill a drink of put their fingers in the socket.
    Originally posted by rustywallet
    I guess nothing can be "safer", but the question is whether this is needed at all.
    They definitely can't "put their fingers in the socket" and have to be really skilled to put any smaller objects there.
    A cover can be put instead of the socket, to cover the box, not the socket that will need to be replaced with a terminal block.

    Generally, it's, I think, a DIY job that doesn't require an electrician, but you'll probably need one if you ask this question.
    Last edited by grumbler; 26-10-2019 at 7:33 AM.
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