It only takes a few seconds for a child to insert an object into an electrical outlet and suffer a serious injury. For that reason, the 2008 National Electrical Code ® (NEC) includes a new child electrical safety requirement for tamper resistant outlets. To raise Code awareness and advocate its adoption at the state level, Eric Mower and Associates recently helped the National Electrical Manufacturers Association by launching an innovative viral marketing and grassroots public relations campaign called “Real Safety.”
NEMA approached EMA in mid 2007, when the requirement for tamper resistant outlets was included in the 2008 NEC requirement. These outlets offer protection against child electrical injuries and have been used within the electrical industry and many hospital pediatric care wards for decades, but they’ve remained unfamiliar to many parents, homeowners and residential construction professionals.
To spark awareness around the importance of tamper-resistant outlets, NEMA and EMA launched a viral marketing campaign with real stories about electrical dangers from burn treatment experts, contractors, parents and children. EMA developed a short educational video, posting it on electrical industry Web sites, YouTube, and on NEMA’s Real Safety Web site, www.childoutletsafety.org. Visitors could also find research, articles, fact sheets and information supporting Code adoption. To view the video, click here.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly 2,400 children receive emergency room treatment every year for injuries related to inserting objects into electrical receptacles. The new NEC requirement aims to reduce such incidents, and “Real Safety” was developed to aid in Code adoption nationwide.
Since the campaign’s launch in December 2007, nearly 20 states and local jurisdictions have enforced the NEC or have committed to adoption by the year’s end. In some states, educational materials from the Real Safety campaign helped state and building officials to embrace the Code instead of resisting adoption or creating amendments.
“Real Safety” also received an honorable mention at the 2008 Business Marketing Association ACE Awards.