How to Baby Proof Cabinets in Your Home: You’ve carefully selected the clothing, toys, bedding and hygiene items you’ve used to ensure that only the safest products surround your infant. Then one day your baby is no longer content to wait for you to pick him up and move him. He is figuring out how to get himself around the house, and much to your surprise, you find him happily exploring the contents of a kitchen cupboard. Suddenly you need to know how to immediately baby proof the cabinets in your house.
It’s not surprising that this is an area new parents overlook in the early months of their infant’s life, but once your baby is mobile, it is very important that potentially dangerous situations be remedied before a tragedy strikes. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), every day more than 300 children are treated in emergency rooms for accidental poisoning, and two of those children will die. In addition, there are many more children hurt by mishandling common household objects stored in lower cabinets. Baby proofing your cabinets is one of the easiest ways to prevent your child from becoming one of those statistics.
- Read more: How To Baby Proof Drawers
Deciding how to baby proof your cabinets can be a daunting task. Spending just a few minutes in the store among these products can leave you confused about the best method to use. We have summarized the most common baby proofing devices, including the pros and cons of each method to help you decide which method will work best in your home.
1# Best Baby Proofing Devices
There are a number of devices on the market today for baby proofing your cabinets. Most operate as a lock of some type to prevent your child from being able to get into the cupboard. The most common devices include:
|Name||Image||Product Dimensions||Our Rating||Best Deals|
|Safety Baby Magnetic Cabinet Locks||5 x 6 x 2 inches||Check Price|
|Adhesive-adhered locks||4.2 x 4.2 x 1.4 inches||Check Price|
|Cord locks||7 x 5 x 1 inches||Check Price|
|Sliding Locks||9.8 x 2.9 x 1.6 inches||Check Price|
|BabyKeeps Adjustable Child Safety Locks - No Tools or Drilling||7.5 x 1.4 x 0.5 inches||Check Price|
These are among the most effective devices for baby proofing cabinets. They are generally easy to install and use, with the locking mechanism installed on the inside of the cabinet and being operated by a magnetic key. There is nothing on the outside of the cabinet to draw your child’s attention.
These locks are easy to operate, and generally a kit will come with several locks that are operated with the same key so you don’t have to keep track of different keys around the house. Also, these locks can be temporarily disabled if you will need to be in and out of a cabinet frequently. The main concern with these products is that if you misplace the key, you are locked out of your cabinets. Also, because these require you to install hardware, renters may be unable to use them in their kitchen or bathroom.
Adhesive locks are easy to install and can easily be removed. This is especially nice if you only need a temporary child-proofing solution or if you are renting and cannot permanently install any devices. These operate with two anchor points adhered to either side of the cabinet door or another nearby smooth surface, with a strap between the anchors to keep the door from being opened.
A simple turn of one of the anchors or push of a release button releases the strap. Be sure to check these locks regularly to ensure that they are still adhered properly to the cabinet. The adhesive can begin to wear out over time, making it easier for your toddler to pull the lock off.
These locks are useful on the cabinets at the end of a row, as they do not require two sets of handles to be effective. They are also good to take when you are visiting and need a temporary baby-proofing solution. Always be sure that the locks are adhered higher than your baby’s reach so he can’t attempt to pull them off.
A very simple device, a pull cord lock is an easy, inexpensive way to baby proof the cabinets in your house. The lock consists of a string tie that slides through a button lock. The string is looped around both handles on side-by-side cabinets, and then the lock is pulled against the handles by tightening one side of the cord. It is locked in place with cord stops that are pulled snug against the lock.
To open the cabinet, just loosen the left-hand cord stop and pull the cord to release, which allows the lock to slide freely along the string. This type of lock requires side-by-side cabinets and, because of it’s construction, it will only work on cabinets with round handles. The string part of the lock is short enough that it will not present a potential choking hazard.
There is a bit of give when pulling on the cabinet being locked with a cord lock, so it is possible that your child could pinch his fingers in the gap.
Slide locks work by wrapping a knotched slide around both handles of the cabinet, which is locked into place with a piece that fits along side one of the cabinet handles. In order to release, you pinch the ends of the slide together and push the lock backwards off the device.
These locks only work when the locking device can fit behind the cabinet handle. Otherwise, it can be manipulated off the door by a determined child. Slide locks also require two hands to operate. They require two hands in order to unlock them, which can make them more challenging at times.
A spring latch lock wraps around both handles of the cabinet and locks between them. You squeeze the two sides of the lock together to release it. These can be cumbersome to operate, especially one-handed. It may be best to reserve this type of lock for cabinets that are seldom used.
Spring levers are locks in which a latch is attached to the back of the frame of the cabinet, and a lever is attached inside the door. When the door is closed, the lever fits into the latch, preventing the door from being fully opened. When you need to get into the cabinet, just open the door a bit, press down on the lever to release it and open the door.
These devices tend to wear out easily, and it probably won’t take long before your toddler has figured out how to push the lever out of the way. These should only be used as a temporary measure when your infant is just beginning to move around on his own. Your child can also get fingers or hands caught in the gap that is created.
2# Steps to Baby Proofing
Baby proofing the cabinets in your house doesn’t need to be a complex or time-consuming task. It is as easy as:
- Identify all cabinets that need to be baby-proofed.
- Determine which type of lock will work best on each cabinet.
- Purchase and install the devices on all cabinets.
- Test all cabinet doors to ensure that they can’t be opened with the lock in place.
When you are deciding which cabinets need to be baby-proofed, consider not only those that your child may be able to access today but also those that he could get into within the next couple of years. In order to make sure you’ve completed the task, it’s usually best to baby proof all the cabinets in the house at the same time.
According to the New Child Center the average height of a three-year-old child is around 37 inches, which means they will be able to easily access drawers and cabinets at that height before they may fully understand the potential dangers.
You will need to decide for yourself when it is safe to remove baby-proofing devices from your cabinets, but when initially installing them, consider that you will want to limit access to not only the very lowest cabinets and drawers, but those an older toddler could reach as well.
Baby proofing the cabinets in your home is an easy way to keep your baby safe as he grows and explores his environment. Knowing what devices are available and will work best for you before you begin will make the process go much smoother. Taking these simple steps can help ensure that your child does not become one of the tragic statistics.