Once your child is old enough to understand the dangers associated with electrical outlets, you will want to remove the safety covers. With reasonable care, a competent homeowner can easily complete the process. However, removing safety outlet covers requires some attention to detail and a few basic safety precautions. Follow these steps for a simple uninstallation process.
Step 1 – Determine Safety Outlet Cover Style
Safety outlet covers come in a variety of different styles. The most common, but least safe, version is a small, plastic insert that goes into the electrical outlet. These are not the safest option for your baby or toddler since children who are older learn to remove the plugs. So not only can the child then insert fingers into the outlet, but also the plugs can pose a choking hazard for a toddler.
The safer options include sliding or swivel safety outlet covers and covers that have a plastic dome over the outlet so that children are protected from outlets that are currently in use. These plastic domes may cover one plug or two. They may cover the entire outlet or just the plug areas.
There are also power strip covers that protect curious children from unplugging cords in a power strip or turning the entire strip off and on.
Step 2 – Determine if Tools Are Needed
If you own plug inserts for your outlet cover, you can simply remove the plugs and safely store them out of reach of the children in your home.
There is a style of plastic dome outlet cover that is held in place by the cord of the appliance that is plugged into the outlet. If this is the case with your safety outlet cover, then you can simply unplug the cord and remove the plastic dome cover.
However, if you determine that the safety cover is attached with the use of screws, then you need to follow the next steps.
Step 3 – Turn Off the Power to the Outlet
Go to the breaker box of your home and turn off the breaker supplying power to the outlet. While this may seem unnecessary, there is a distinct possibility that you will come in contact with the outlet itself or electrical wiring as you remove the cover, and you can experience severe shock in those cases.
Additionally, if you do have children in the house, it is strongly recommended that you never have a live outlet exposed to the open.
Since breakers are often sparsely labeled or incorrectly labeled, be sure to leave an appliance such as a lamp or loud radio plugged into the outlet and turned on so that you know when you have turned off the power.
Step 4 – Remove Screws From Outlet Cover
Safety outlet covers come in two styles: two screws and one screw. Determine if you need a Phillips or a flat-head screwdriver, and remove the screws from the safety outlet cover.
The screws are longer than those on a standard outlet cover, but generally are otherwise standard.
In models with a domed plastic cover, you will need to squeeze the sides of the dome or unhook the dome in order to find the screws.
Step 5 – Replace the Cover
Have a standard outlet cover available when you finish removing the safety outlet cover so that you can immediately replace a cover for safety. After tightening the screws on the new cover, you can turn the electricity back on.