Electrical appliances and outlets can be dangerous for anyone – but particular care needs to be taken when they are used around or by children. The question is, are the USB sockets / USB socket chargers safe for children? And what about the USB integrated sockets?
Actions taken by concerned parents could increase the risk to their children if they do not research the actions they make properly. For instance, many parents may insert plastic socket covers which inadvertently cover inbuilt safety features and risk causing fires.
‘Child Safety Week’ is an event that aims to educate young people and their parents on the importance of electrical safety, and it took place from the 3rd to the 9th June this year. The manufacturing giant MK Electric was in attendance to focus on one aspect in particular: USB integrated sockets.
In this article, Sparks will explain what they found out about USB socket related safety, taking notes from MK Electric and their research into the issue.
The new tech-savvy generation and the dangers of overloading sockets
Emma Segelov, the EMEA marketing operations for MK Electric has spoken extensively on the issue of children using gadgets safely. This is essential in times when young people are using technology more than ever.
It is estimated that 93% of 15-year olds now own a smartphone, whilst 70% of UK children from the ages of 9-16 go online daily according to a study by LSE University.
The average household has a plethora of battery-powered portable gadgets, ranging from phones to tablets to smartwatches. It is estimated that a single person could be charging 3 to 4 devices every single night! This is an extraordinary demand for power if we are looking at a household with four or more people, for instance.
And each of these household devices will require a USB cable, meaning it will be a headache to find the right socket to charge them all.
Emma explains that it is this surge in the popularity of handheld devices that has necessitated the rise in the number of USB wall sockets. She says:
This increase in the number of mobile devices has driven a need for greater access to charging points and more flexible charging options.
A great solution offers itself in the form of the integrated USB socket. Sparks have these useful devices in stock, including the brilliant Lisse double socket with USB charger.
USB sockets that will offer both convenience and protection
The USB integrated socket has emerged as a favoured option among many, as they feature both device agnostic USB ports and traditional 13A three-pin switch socket outlets. This means they offer a wider range of charging options depending on your cable.
Electricians should be on the lookout for USB integrated sockets that feature handy technology called ‘Dynamic Device Recognition’ (DDR). This innovative software offers optimal charging which detects slight differences between smartphones and offers the precise level of power required.
DDR technology has the added bonus of being eco-efficient for this reason; it won’t send too much power to a device that does not need it. This, of course, causes the problem of overloading, which we have discussed previously in this Sparks blog post.
The risks of over-voltage will primarily affect your electrical equipment and should be noticeable immediately. These incidents are not to be taken lightly, but are unlikely to physically harm you or your children.
However, you should encourage your children to take these following steps:
- Be aware of any burning smells, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing and crackling), fuses blowing or scorch marks on plugs and sockets. This is a sign of overloading.
- Never touch electrical equipment with wet hands.
- Never touch light switches that are cracked or show any signs of wear-and-tear.
- Don’t plug equipment into a socket which looks damaged or has its cover missing.
More on how USB integrated sockets provide protection
The USB integrated charger socket is designed to replicate the way in which the manufacturer’s charger would work. This prevents the risk of over or under-loading sockets, a phenomenon which is a common cause of house fires and damages to people and property.
Another excellent way in which MK Electric sockets offers protection is with their shutter systems. With the standard 13A switch-socket outlet, there is a mandatory child-resistant shutter system.
The shutter prevents the flow of electricity unless all three pins of a standard UK plug are firmly in position. This will drastically reduce the risk of accidents occurring to young children, who may not know the dangers of placing foreign (or fake) appliances into UK switch-socket outlets.
Advantages to the Integrated USB wall sockets
Convenience is a major benefit of having a USB wall socket. With the addition of USB sockets, regular sockets can be freed up and your electrical gadgets connected directly to the wall. This eliminates the need for copious amounts of adaptors and extension leads.
Another advantage comes with potential energy savings. The USB outlets on most USB wall sockets automatically turn off when nothing is connected, which will save you money in cases when your kids leave their devices to charge all night!
Many cheaper USB adaptors do not do this and continue to draw small amounts of power even when they are not charging.
It is of crucial importance that we ‘take charge’ when it comes to USB sockets, and do not allow children to fall under any risks. Integrated USB sockets offer a great way to streamline device charging by removing the need for adapters, and leaving the 13A, 3 pin power sockets free to use. You should look into purchasing one right away – especially if you have a large family!