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I brought and installed an electrical outlet with USB chargers. Then, I childproof the power outlet and wondered if the USB ports needed to be childproof too? What if my two year old toddler put a flat screw driver in to it? Would it be problematic?


Updated I've emailed the manufacturer and they gave similar answer to what you guys give -- There is there is no harm to the child but in the case of short circuit we have to relies on the fuse and the breaker. So Thanks every one for the answer.

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+1 b/c I had not thought of such a question. There are a few techie types on here, but it might be helpful to consider posting this question on a more tech form and posting the reply here... not sure what proper form on SE is for a question which is apropos for multiple venues. – Jeremy Miller Apr 15 '14 at 6:16
@JeremyMiller The question is quite fine here (I +1'd it too) and there are many of us here who are "techie types" (heck, even using the stack exchange marks you as at least a little "techie"). As seen by the answers already posted, definitely no issue ^_^ – Doc Apr 15 '14 at 18:08
up vote 15 down vote accepted

It would be problematic in the sense that short circuiting the pins may damage the USB charger. There are no health risks. At worst, the child will be subjected to 5 volts. The resulting 'shock' is not only harmless, it is not even noticable, roughly equivalent to replacing the batteries from the tv remote with your bare hands. If instead of poking the device with a screwdriver, your toddler licks the USB socket, he may notice a mild sensation which I assume to be unpleasant, but not painful or dangerous.

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Lol. Did you pick this username because of the comment on the question? If so, that's awesome – SomeShinyObject Apr 15 '14 at 23:49
@ChristopherW: Certainly. I'm not quite in the target demographic of this site, but decided to answer this question anyway. I figured this username might inform why. – TechieType Apr 16 '14 at 18:19
As I'm the testing type - I can clarify, you don't get much of a sensation from licking a USB port. The tingle from a 9v battery is much more fun :-) – Rory Alsop Apr 17 '14 at 8:19

Short answer - Don't. USB sockets only output 5 volts and up to 3 amps (usually 1 amp or less), well below the threshold for if it could hurt anyone, including toddlers.

There really isn't a need to spend more money on covers which aren't needed, the only concern would be if somehow your child worked out how to short the current on the charger, although this would usually require taking the charger apart, which requires a screwdriver.

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Never underestimate the ingenuity, dexterity, determination, or (at times) suicidal tendencies of toddlers. ;) my kids learned to use screwdrivers by the time they could use a spoon. – Jax Apr 17 '14 at 1:36

You could always try something like these USB Covers [Amazon].

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Thanks, I will consider that just for a piece of my (wife's) mind. – NawaMan Apr 16 '14 at 6:37
Or even for her peace of mind - very important! – Liam May 4 '15 at 20:54

The amperage on a USB socket is typically 0.5-1.0A on a PC, sometimes less (300mA is common for a low power device). High current USB chargers are usually 2.0-2.5A, for instance the Google Nexus 7 tablet charger and some new smartphone chargers, however most mobile phone chargers are 700-1000mA, for instance a Nokia 520/525 would be 750mA and a Samsung Galaxy Nexus charger is 1.0A. As user7316 says - well below the threshold (he calls it a line) for any damage, and shorting the current would require shorting between charger pins - inserting a screwdriver into the port wouldn't do it.

Nevertheless, Jax makes a decent point - childproofing is as much about making things like screwdrivers unavailable to children and watching their behaviour to prevent 'excursions' as it is removing places to stick them.

As TechieType says - it's a 5V design - not enough volts or amps to feel it unless you use your tongue. Whatever the current is on the wall plate, only needs covering if you think it is in any way possible for your child to use leverage on it to break the plastic (probably not a problem if it's a metal cover) and expose themselves to whatever voltage your house mains electricity is. Hopefully the breaker would go - having an electrician check these are actually working correctly might be a good idea, as doing things like using 10A 'fast trip' breakers instead of 20A 'slower' breakers may be advisable with kids. All these breakers essentially melt at different speeds depending on the thickness and material involved, and the current involved when the thing breaks, so ensuring they're working as designed can be the difference between a life-saving trip and a nasty accident.*

*mild hyperbole involved, but all true.

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