Baby Proofing Drawers: A Complete How To Guide

Don’t you just love being able to quickly feed the cat, knowing your baby will be playing right where you left her when you come back? Yep, it’s pretty great. While it lasts…

As your little bundle of cuteness grows, so too will her independence and curiosity. Before you know it, she’ll be crawling, standing and walking – and running havoc in your home.

Imagine a drunk person looking for a set of keys in their handbag. It’s a bit like that. Except it’s your toddler and she’ll happily rummage through every drawer she can find.

Looking for what, exactly? Ah, that’s one of the mysteries of toddlerhood.

But you can be darn sure she’ll find something she’s not supposed to have – and this is where baby-proofing comes in.

Why Babyproofing Your Drawers Is So Important

As soon as baby is showing signs of interest in drawers, it’s time to install some locks.

Don’t feel like a Nervous Nellie for doing so. It’s a common babyproofing tactic, and one that most hospitals endorse – Cleveland Clinic recommends babyproofing any drawers that a young child could reach in the garage, shed, laundry, kitchen, and bathroom.

To put it simply, any drawer that is a danger to your child should be safely locked up.

Here are just a few of the dangers we’re talking about:

1) Sharp Objects And Choking Hazards

While a frying pan or wooden spoon might not cause injury, lots of other common household items can. It could be something sharp like a knife, or something small that your baby could choke on, like a battery.

In the wrong hands, items like these could see your child, or a sibling, end up in the emergency room.

2) Accidental Poisoning

Lots of kitchen, bathroom and laundry products can be poisonous.

According to The National Capital Poison Center, one and two-year-olds are more likely to experience poisoning than any other age group.

In their 2016 report, cosmetics, personal care products, cleaning substances and pain medications were found to be the main causes of accidental poisoning in young children.

While you can do your best to keep them up high on shelves and away from little hands, sometimes drawers are the only storage option you have. This is fine, as long as you take the right precautions and keep the drawer locked in some way.

3) Bub Could Get Her Fingers Caught

Getting fingers caught in a drawer might not be life-threatening, but it’s still painful and could cause injury – especially if the drawer is slammed shut accidentally.

Nobody wants to see their little one in tears!

With a drawer lock, you can minimize the risk. Although it’s important to point out that while some childproofing products stop the drawer from fully opening, some are designed to still open a little bit. So be mindful of the product type you choose.

4) Using Drawers As A Ladder

Children have a huge imagination, as we all know. It’s no surprise then that some parents report their toddlers using open drawers as a ladder to climb up onto cabinets and benches.

Sure, we’ll give our little baby geniuses credit for their smarts! But we’d rather they weren’t playing MacGyver in the kitchen while we’re cooking.

5) Less Cleaning

Protecting your child is obviously the number one goal when babyproofing. But there’s also the added bonus of less cleaning.

If baby is going through your drawers, you can almost guarantee that its contents will soon be strewn around the floor. Which means you’ll have to pick it up and pack it away.

…Only for her to pull it all out again. Press repeat. It’s like Groundhog Day in your wardrobe.

So, yep. In case you weren’t already convinced…a drawer lock may save your sanity.

What Are The Options When It Comes To Babyproofing Drawers?

There’s a wide range of products available from a huge range of brands. If you look through review sites and parenting forums, you’ll see they all have their pros and cons.

Let’s take a look at the most common types of locks and latches:

1) Magnetic Locks

Magnetic locks have a lock that sits on the inside of the drawer, with a magnetic component inside the plastic. Depending on the product, they are either installed with screws or adhesives.

How It Works:

The only way to open it is by using a magnetic key that you simply hold against the drawer – the magnetic pull then causes the latch inside to release.

Check out this video to see how the magnetic lock works. (This clip has been chosen for demonstrative purposes only – we’re not endorsing any particular brand.)

What’s Good About These?

The best part about magnetic locks is they’re hard for toddlers to bypass.

Firstly, because the lock itself is hidden inside the drawer, so there’s nothing to grab their interest from the outside. Secondly, because sheer force shouldn’t open the drawer. It’s not a latch that little hands can fiddle with and break open.

Unless your toddler becomes a pickpocket and steals the magnetic key, while simultaneously learning how to use it, you can feel pretty sure they won’t open it.

What’s Bad About These?

You’ll need the magnetic key to open it, which might get tedious. You’ll also need to make sure you don’t lose it, which is sometimes easier said than done.

2) Adhesive Adjustable Straps

These adhesive locks are very simple, with a strap that keeps the drawer shut like a belt. You simply peel off the plastic – attach one piece to the drawer face and the other to the drawer frame.

How It Works:

You can open it by pulling or squeezing the lock, depending on the product design. The strap will then automatically release.

Check out this video to see how the strap lock works. (This clip has been chosen for demonstrative purposes only – we’re not endorsing any particular brand.)

What’s Good About These?

Easy to install and simple to use. These strap locks are also usually multi-purpose, so you might also be able to use them on your cupboards, fridge, toilet seats, etc.

What’s Bad About These?

Depending on the brand, you might find the adhesive starts to peel off. Some parents in online forums complain about the adhesives falling off, and drawers coming open with light force. The strap might also be fiddly and catch your toddler’s attention.

3) Adhesive Angle Locks

Angle locks are similar to the strap locks. But instead of an adjustable strap, they work via two pieces of plastic that clasp together and fit snugly against the corner of the drawers.

How It Works:

To open the drawer, you simply pull the plastic outwards to release the latch. The two pieces of plastic can then come apart, unlocking the drawer.

What’s Good About These?

Easy to install and simple to use. Plus, when you shut the drawer, the lock should automatically click in place, and lock shut.

What’s Bad About These?

As per any product with adhesives, there’s the risk it will lose its stickiness and peel off the drawer frame.

Check out this video to see how the angle lock works. (This clip has been chosen for demonstrative purposes only – we’re not endorsing any particular brand.)

4) Spring-Action Locks

These locks have a spring-action system that is located solely inside the drawer, where it is either stuck down with an adhesive or installed with screws.

How It Works:

You pull the drawer open as far as it will go (an inch or so usually) and then push down on the lock to release the drawer. It will then open the rest of the way.

Check out this video to see how the spring-action lock works. (This clip has been chosen for demonstrative purposes only – we’re not endorsing any particular brand.)

What’s Good About These?

There is no visible lock on the outside of the drawer, so your baby or toddler won’t have anything to fiddle with.

What’s Bad About These?

The drawer can be pulled slightly open, which means your child could still get their fingers caught.

Should You Use A Product With Screws Or Adhesives?

Most baby drawer locks can either be stuck onto the frame using adhesives or need to be properly installed using screws.

The method you use all depends on the product itself. So do be mindful to read the installation instructions before you buy.

Why You Might Prefer Adhesives

Generally speaking, adhesives are easier to install. You simply follow the instructions on the packet. They’re also easier to remove than something physically drilled in.

If you’re not confident with a toolkit or don’t want to put holes in your drawers, an adhesive lock or latch may be the better option.

Why You Might Prefer Something Installed With Screws

Obviously, anything that is installed with screws would likely be more secure than an adhesive. There’s less chance of the lock coming off if it’s fiddled with.

If you’re intending on keeping your drawers babyproofed for a few years, a more permanent solution like this may be worth considering.

Things To Watch Out For

  • Some products may not come highly recommended for whatever reason, so always read online reviews.
  • Be aware that some locks and latches have design flaws, like the spring-action lock that allows a drawer to slide open a crack.
  • Some adhesives could fall off, especially after a bit of wear and tear. It obviously all depends on the product itself and the surface its used on, but this seems to be a common complaint in parenting forums.
  • If you’re renting, it might be worth asking your landlord before you drill a lock into the drawers. You might be required to get approval first.

What If No Drawer Lock Will Work For Your Situation?

If for some reason your drawers can’t be babyproofed, it’s important to find an alternative. For example, some parents use baby gates to block off certain areas of the house.

You could use a gate to stop your toddler from accessing the drawers.

As a precaution though, it’s probably also a good idea to keep anything sharp, poisonous or small enough to choke on, high and out of reach. Just as one last barrier of protection.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Other Drawer Hazards To Consider

If you’re serious about safety, you might also want to consider other ways to babyproof your drawers.

For example, if the drawers have sharp corners, you may want to apply special padding to cover them and protect your child from injuries.

If you have stand-alone drawers, it’s also worth checking that they’re sturdy and won’t fall on your child. If you’re worried, you might be able to have your drawers fixed to the wall.

One Last Safety Tip

There’s no doubt that drawer locks can significantly help you keep your little ones safe. But the truth is, there’s nothing safer than proper supervision.

I know. Your eyeballs can’t be trained on your little one 100% of the time. The cat needs to be fed and one-year-olds are surprisingly sneaky.

The point here is to understand that no lock will guarantee safety and you should still always be vigilant.

How To Babyproof Your Drawers: Product Recommendations

We know your time is valuable, and at the beck and call of a certain tiny human being, which is why we’ve done the hard yards for you!

There’s a huge range of babyproofing drawer products available out there for you to choose from, but there’s a few that we think are pretty great.

Worth a look at the very least so you know what’s out there, even if you don’t plan on making use of any of them at the time-being. Plus, they’re all available on Amazon, so within easy reach.

Remember that every product is different, and they won’t all fit your exact needs. So, be sure to read the pros and cons when checking out our list below.

*Note: Upon clicking on any of the links in the section below, you will be redirected to the respective product listings on Amazon where you can learn about the product’s price, customer rating & customer reviews.

In The Magnetic Category

1) Magnetic Baby Safety Locks by Purple Safety – Adhesive Installation

These magnetic locks are designed for both drawers and cabinets, and come with 12 locks and 2 magnetic keys.

They’re great because they use 3M adhesives to stick the locks in place. Yes, that means you won’t have to reach for a toolkit – yippee!

Best of all, the magnetic design means the lock itself is hidden inside the drawer, leaving nothing to catch your little one’s interest.

Pros:

  • No screws or drilling needed.
  • Comes with an instructional video for easy installation.
  • Has a lock/unlock function – if you need easy access to that drawer while you’re cooking, simply click it in place so it temporarily disables the lock.
  • Easy to remove and shouldn’t leave marks.
  • Comes with two keys – so even if you misplace one, there’s always a backup!

Cons:

  • You’ll need to reach for the magnetic key whenever you need to use the drawer (assuming its set in its locked position) – if this is something that might irk you, a different type of lock might be better.
  • If your drawer (or cabinet) doesn’t have a lip to install them on, this product may not be the right one for you.
  • The magnetic key will work on drawers (or cabinets) that are 1.5 inches thick. Any thicker and the magnetic key may not work, so always check before you buy.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

2) Magnetic Locking System by Safety 1st – Screw Installation

If you’re worried about the effectiveness of adhesives and prefer the sturdiness of screws, this magnetic lock might be a better fit for you than the one mentioned above.

It comes with one key and eight locks, and offers all the ease and benefits of the magnetic design – a lock that is hidden from view and has nothing that a child can tamper with.

We’re also big fans of its strong and durable installation.

Pros:

  • Screws in place for a sturdy and resilient installation.
  • The lock can be deactivated when children aren’t around, so you can more easily access the drawer.
  • Has a color indicator to let you know if the lock is activated or not – with one glance you’ll know if it’s currently locked or unlocked.
  • Works on both drawers and cabinets alike.

Cons:

  • Screws into place, so if you’re not confident with this type of installation, an adhesive option might be more suitable.
  • When you eventually remove the locks, they’ll obviously leave behind holes where the screws were – worth considering if you’re renting.
  • Only comes with one key, so you’ll need to make sure you don’t lose it.
  • Best only used on drawers up to 1.5 inches thick, otherwise the magnetic key may not work properly.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

In The Adjustable Strap Category

1) Xtraguard Dual Action Multi Use Latches by Munchkin – Adhesive Installation

 

These adhesive adjustable straps are great for drawers, but also work on cabinets, toilet seats, fridges and more.

It comes in a pack of two.

We recommend them because they’re versatile and just so darn easy to use. With their adhesive design, you just stick them on and they’re ready to go.

Pros:

  • Easy to install.
  • Easy to remove and shouldn’t damage furniture (if removed properly).
  • Latches around corners.
  • Uses a dual button operation to release – making it hard for kids to conquer.

Cons:

  • Some people have complained of the adhesive not sticking properly. Unfortunately, when it comes to adhesives, there’s always going to be the risk of this happening.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

In The Angle Lock Category

1) Angle Locks by Dreambaby – Adhesive Installation

This is one of the more popular brands of angle locks on the market today, and despite their negatives (outlined below) they do offer maximum simplicity if that’s what you’re looking for.

This pack of four locks are designed for corner drawers, as well as cabinets.

Pros:

  • Easy to install.
  • Self-locking – should clasp shut automatically when you close the drawer.

Cons:

  • Some people complain of the locks not always shutting properly.
  • There are also some of the adhesives wearing out and falling off with time.
  • Only works on corner drawers, and may not fit properly if there is a decorative edging.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

In The Spring-Action Lock Category

1) Drawers Latch by The Good Stuff – Adhesive Installation

This pack of eight spring-action locks defines the convenience and easy installation of adhesives. You literally just stick it on and it’s ready to go, it need not be more complicated than that.

It also works on both drawers and cabinets equally well.

We specifically love the spring-action lock design because it’s completely invisible from the outside.

Pros:

  • Uses adhesives – no need for drilling or screws.
  • Designed to fit most drawer shapes and sizes.
  • Supplies both a catch and a latch.
  • Easy to remove when you no longer need them.

Cons:

  • Some people complain that the latch “isn’t long enough” for their drawers.
  • As expected, when adhesives are used there will always be some complaints that it didn’t stick strong enough or didn’t stand the test of time. Just something to be aware of before buying.
  • As is the case with spring-action locks, there’s always the risk of a child putting their finger inside the drawer and getting it caught, even without it fully opening.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

2) Spring Action Cabinet Lock by KidCo – Screw Installation

If you’re in need of something with extra resilience, this spring-action lock installs inside your drawers using screws.

It Comes in a pack of four locks.

They’re great because they’re so easy to operate, and don’t require any keys or too much fumbling with the lock to get it open.

Pros:

  • Screw installation so the lock is securely fastened.
  • Only requires one hand to open.
  • The disengage feature allows you to switch off the lock when it’s not needed.
  • Includes additional hardware for frameless cabinetry.

Cons:

  • If you’re not handy with tools which you’ll need for installation, you might be more suited to an adhesive option.
  • As with all spring-action locks, there’s the risk of your child’s finger poking through the crack and getting caught – probably better for higher drawers that are harder for small children to access.

Click Here To Check Price & Read Customer Reviews On Amazon

If In Doubt – Ask For Recommendations From People You Trust

Choosing the right drawer locks to keep your children safe can be hard.

Nobody wants to get ripped off, and the last thing you want is a lock that doesn’t work properly. Or doesn’t stand the tests of time.

My advice?

Hit the online forums, put the word out on Facebook and call your friends – find out which products they’ve trialed so you can learn from their mistakes.

That’s what friends are there for, right?

On that note, we’d love to know your babyproofing drawer recommendations if you have any! Share them in the comments, with any tips or advice we can all learn from.

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