A Facebook post explaining the dangers of a device meant to keep children safe has gone viral.
Plastic electrical socket covers are used by parents and guardians up and down the country to stop little ones sticking their fingers inside the holes.
But electrical expert Steve Palmer says grown-ups are unwittingly putting young lives at risk by using the device, and has filmed his two of his five children playing with them to make his point.
The Department for Health issued a safety alert to highlight the dangers last year but Mr Palmer doesn’t think the message has got through.
His Facebook post on his Bristol-based business JPS Electrical Services has been shared 25,000 times since he published on November 13.
Explaining where the danger lies, he told Manchester Evening News’ (M.E.N) Manchester Family Facebook page that the plastic socket covers can be easily removed by children, who then effectively have a tool to activate the plug socket with.
He said: “I did the video to show that when kids mess with them, as my son demonstrates, they can easily be put in upside down with just the one plastic bit inside the top hole.
“It only needs that top pin to be pushed in for the bottom conductors to be exposed and that’s where the danger comes in.
“The information about not using them is already out there but people don’t seem to be getting the message.
“I’ve also spoken to people who have told me that the use of them is still being recommended, by Ofsted for example when they’re looking at childcare settings.”
Mr Palmer said there is an added danger from people using plastic covers with pins that are too big for the sockets. This can lead to overheating when the plug is put back in.
And he said it’s also not true about little fingers reaching the parts inside a socket.
He added: “It’s also a myth of babies being able to put their fingers in because the conductors are too far back. They just wouldn’t be able to reach.”
In his viral Facebook post, he says: “You wouldn’t provide your child with a screwdriver to play with around your home so STOP inserting a TOOL into your sockets that could potentially be the cause of serious harm or even the death of your child. They are far more intelligent and able than we give them credit for.
“If you know anyone with children or you have friends or family that look after your children then be sure that they have seen this video and understand the DANGER involved with using an electrical socket cover.”
Commonly sold as safety accessories, socket covers are unregulated.
They come in many different sizes and shapes and therefore rarely fit sockets correctly.
Ofsted has no official position on the use of socket covers and does not refer to them in guidance for inspectors.
An Ofsted spokesperson told M.E.N : “ It is for providers to identify and manage all risks in line with Early Years Foundation Stage requirements.
“Ofsted does not prescribe any particular method of managing risks, such as those arising from electrical sockets.”
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