Parents warned about 'dangerous' baby-proofing product and told 'get rid'

Many concerned parents use plug protectors to protect children against electric shocks
-Credit: (Image: scu)

A popular baby-proofing product could be more dangerous than first thought. Which? has urged parents to steer clear of the safety tool, found in millions of households across the UK.

Many concerned parents use plug protectors to protect children against electric shocks. But a report by the consumer choice website has sparked fears they do more harm than good, the Mirror reports.

Which? said the protectors block the existing safety mechanism inside UK plug sockets, stating that the usual British 13 amp socket found in homes was already safe. This was due to plastic shutters, which close when the sockets were empty, providing a barrier from the 230 volts of electricity that could shock curious tots.

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However, it said plastic plug protectors could actually leave these shutters open, creating an increased safety risk. Experts at Which? also said if a protector was installed incorrectly, it could cause more damage to the shutter on the socket.

Plug protectors have also been flagged by electricians, who suggest they could damage the internal connections and increase the risk of electrical arcing, which could lead to melted or singed sockets. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has also warned people about the dangers of the tools, The Sun reports.

Steve Cole, director of policy, campaigns and public affairs at RoSPA, said: "It is understandable that we want to do all we can to protect our children from the dangers of electricity and can therefore understand why people are attracted to plug socket covers. However, the truth is that they can be more dangerous than having a bare socket.

"That’s why we agree with Which?’s latest report, and that the safest approach to childproofing your electrical outlets is essentially to leave them untouched." Consumer rights expert at Which? Harry Kind, added: "If you are concerned about young children around plug sockets, we recommend that you pack your electric cables neatly away and as far out of reach as possible. You might also want to turn off any outlets you're not using, or block them off using large furniture pieces such as a sofa.”