Drum roll, please. The results of EC&M's 2009 Product of the Year contest are in, and this year's platinum award winner confirms the adage that sometimes two are better than one. An offering from Syracuse, N.Y.-based Pass Seymour/Legrand (P&S) aimed at residential homeowners, the product incorporates an LED nightlight into a tamper-resistant duplex ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), meeting 2008 NEC standards for child electrical safety in newly constructed single- and multi-family dwellings.

“P&S introduced the first GFCI in 1972,” says Bill Timmons, P&S marketing manager — residential products. “We constantly strive to design products that are aesthetically appealing, possess multiple functions, and increase user safety. Combining a tamper-resistant nightlight and GFCI receptacle has helped us achieve this goal.”

Sealed with a durable Lexan lens, the company says the LED nightlight features a 20-year life expectancy. In addition, it includes a photocell that illuminates the light in the dark and automatically turns it off in the daytime, thereby saving energy.

“The product also eliminates many of the safety issues that surround standard incandescent plug-in nightlights,” adds Timmons. “For example, traditional nightlights can be unplugged by a child. The 7W bulb can become quite hot and be unscrewed, posing a choking hazard. Furthermore, homeowners save the expense of having to replace burned-out lamps every three to six months.”

To increase the product's safety quotient, the GFCI features a built-in plastic shutter system that prevents children from inserting metal objects into the socket and coming in contact with electrically live components.

According to the company, the device installs like a standard receptacle and features an improved shutter design that accepts electrical plugs more easily and requires no additional force to remove them. And unlike similar products currently on the market that offer a nightlight and only one receptacle, the P&S device features two.

“This was one of the product's major design considerations,” explains Timmons. “We received customer feedback that dual receptacles are preferred in bathrooms and kitchens. In order to provide for the second receptacle, we had to find a way to make the LED smaller while at the same time ensuring it emitted the proper amount of illumination. I'm not aware of another product like it.”

Although it is primarily geared toward homeowners, Timmons says the tamper-resistant nightlight/GFCI combination device is gaining popularity with hotels and hospitals.

“This product can be installed wherever there is a need for increased lighting and safety, including environments with which patients and/or guests may be unfamiliar,” he observes.

For more information, visit www.passandseymour.com/TRoutlets.