Keeping our children safe is at the forefront of every parent’s mind. From car seats to cots, sleeping nests to walkers all baby items are rigorously tested for safety and trust is put in them to be safe for our children.

There is, however, one familiar item that is not government regulated but you will find it in any baby aisle, and in many homes and nursery settings.

We are led to believe that plugs are unsafe for our children to be around, in case they jam a finger or object into them and get electrocuted. Therefore, we opt to cover them up with plastic socket cover, believing we are being safety conscious.

But, experts are in fact advising the opposite and one organisation Fatally Flawed has even launched a campaign advising of the dangers and calling for the #Covers to be banned.

NHS says to remove them

The NHS has warned that they should not be used and if they are in use to remove them and responsibly dispose of them.

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The Department of Health has also followed suit and endorsed this recommendation.

The British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association (BEAMA) strongly recommends against the use of the parent safety preventer. They advise that children cannot poke their fingers/object into a British plug due to them having automatic shutters.

British plug sockets are regulated by the government and in 1947 the BS 1363 standard was used for all 13-amp plugs. By law, they all have an internal safety shutter to stop children poking things into them and causing the plug to go live resulting in electrocution.

The only way this would fail is if a child pokes something into the plug that would be the same size as the earth pin at the top, which would be unlikely. The other safety issue with leaving plugs uncovered would be if a child plugged in an appliance that had been left around, for example, hair straighteners.

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However, it is, of course, advisable to remove these appliances from your child’s reach.

Back in 2010 Which? issued a report weighing up the pros and cons of the socket covers and concluded they make plugs more dangerous and are unnecessary.

Unregulated

No national regulated body recommends the plug covers yet Mothercare, Homebase, Argos and many other retailers like Tesco stock them. They are also included in many baby proofing kits that can be purchased.

Leading parenting discussion forums Mumsnet and Netmums all host numerous threads on the subject with #parents admitting they were not aware of the dangers. Many of the ones sold are the wrong size and shape and are not approved for British plugs. They also cause shutter damage making the internal safety shutter void.

The socket covers could be wiggled out, and inserted upside down making the plug live. With the covers being on if the switch is left it has been reported it could lead to overheating.

The plug covers have been withdrawn from NHS premises, and nurseries/early years settings have been advised to follow suit.

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Currently, Ofsted (The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) have no official position on the use of the safety covers.