Childproofing your doors doesn’t have to be so hard. We’re not saying it’s fun or that you want to be doing this on your day off, but our guide below should make it a tad easier so you’re not curled up in a scared and anxious ball in the childproofing section of the local shop trying to figure out what on earth it is you exactly need to be getting.
We’ve covered everything you need to know, from understanding the dangers of keeping doors around the house not baby proof to properly choosing your locks, and even a DIY method some of you might choose to experiment with and build on.
Ready to dive in? Alright, let’s do this!
Why Do You Need To Babyproof Doors?
No doubt your sanity is at stake (there’s only so many times a day you can listen to the bedroom door slamming shut).
But your child’s safety is really the number one concern.
1) Getting Fingers Caught
How many times have you heard the door slam and your little one comes toddling out, tears streaming, nursing their hand? Hopefully never. But it does happen.
According to the Raising Children Network, the hinge side of the door often causes the worst injuries. This is especially the case for one to two-year-olds. Meanwhile, they say that older children are more likely to hurt themselves in the opening or handle side of the door.
If this happens to your child, this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics offers great information on home treatment and when to seek professional advice.
2) Going Places They Shouldn’t
Sometimes we keep rooms shut off for a particular reason. Like the garage, or the laundry. With power tools and chemicals, these certainly aren’t ideal places for a child to be alone.
Possible danger zones in and around your home need to be blocked off and secure.
3) Getting Stuck On The Other Side
It’s a mysterious science – our little ones are savvy enough to get into the room, but often just can’t get out.
While it’s annoying for us having to constantly free them, it’s also not fun for your little one, feeling trapped and scared. Even if they will do it again five minutes later …
4) Escaping Through The Front Or Back Door
This isn’t so much an issue when they’re babies, but small children may eventually work out how to open the lock on the doors that lead out of the house.
The dangers here are pretty obvious – running onto the road, getting lost in the street, talking to strangers, etc. Basically, your child shouldn’t be leaving the house without you knowing, which is why an additional childproof lock may be necessary.
When Should You Babyproof Your Doors?
It makes sense to babyproof your doors by the time your little one is walking and able to use the knob or handle. This could occur any time from about nine months onwards, depending on the height of your door handles and your baby’s development.
But to be honest, injuries can occur even before your little one can reach the handle.
Babies that are crawling and pulling themselves up onto things can easily push doors ajar by accident. Or, as we mentioned earlier, get their fingers caught in the hinge. Pinched fingers are very common at this age.
So it’s probably good practice to get your doors secured by the time your little one is showing signs of crawling – according to Baby Center, this usually happens between seven to ten months.
Things To Consider When Baby Proofing Your Doors
We use doors a lot. Especially in and out of bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas. So there’s a few things to think about before installing your childproof lock.
1) Is It Convenient?
While your childproofing product needs to be strong enough to keep out your toddler, it still needs to be functional enough for you to use regularly throughout the day.
If it’s annoying or you’re literally struggling to use it, then it might be time to try something else.
2) Is It Still Practical In Case Of An Emergency?
If there’s a fire or some other emergency, you should be able to quickly and confidently get through the door. Make sure the lock or device works properly and isn’t prone to faults.
3) Would A Baby Gate Be Better?
Some parents find that a baby gate works better for certain areas. You can install them in doorways, replacing the need to shut the door and attach a lock.
One good thing is you can leave the door open and see into the room – some parents find that closed doors can make a small house feel even smaller.
How To Babyproof Your Doors
There’s quite a few different contraptions available.
You might even find that some designs work well on one door, but not another. Plus, they might serve different purposes – one might stop your kids from getting their fingers caught in the hinge, while another might keep the door fully shut.
With this in mind, you may need to mix and match to meet all your babyproofing needs.
Let’s take a look at what options you can choose from.
1) Finger Protection Strips
This type of product is designed to protect fingers from getting crushed in the hinge side of the door.
They’re basically long pieces of plastic, which you install over the inside gap of the door. Working like a cover, they stop curious little fingers from getting caught.
Great for babies and young toddlers (as one to two-year-olds are most likely to get their fingers caught in the hinge side of the door). But, they obviously won’t stop fingers from getting trapped in the handle side, because that’s not their purpose.
Also, some products are made for very precise specifications – e.g. some will only work on doors that open to a maximum of 110 degrees.
2) Door Stoppers
These are curved, c-shaped devices that fit snug against the door, stopping them from fully shutting. It doesn’t actually lock the door, just stops it from slamming.
It will protect finger injuries from the handle side of the door, but not the hinge side.
The great thing is they’re easy to use – you just position them onto the door, and use it as normal, with no special technique needed.
However, this obviously won’t stop children from moving between rooms, as that’s not their purpose.
3) Door Handle Covers
These nifty locking devices literally cover the door knob or lever, almost like a shell.
Type #1: Knob Handles
If a toddler tries to turn the knob, the cover will turn freely around the knob, stopping it from unlatching the door. Meanwhile, an adult will be able to grip it properly using access holes, or a special grip, in the cover.
Type #2: Lever Handles
If it’s a lever cover, it should have some kind of lock that can be clicked by an adult to allow it to open or shut. Meanwhile, if your child pulls on the lever, the cover will be locked in place, stopping the lever from working.
4) Flip Locks
These locks are great for doors that lead out of the home, offering childproofing and extra protection from intruders.
They screw into the doorframe. You simply flip the catch in towards the door, to stop it from opening, and flip it back out to open.
By installing it high enough, it means that even if your child can reach the handle to unlock the door, this latch will keep it from opening.
They’re great because they’re easy to use and offer extra security.
However, if your partner or an older child comes home and tries to get in with the key, you’ll have to come and flip the latch to let them in.
5) Top Locks
These devices are made of two pieces – one sticks to the door and the other sits inside the frame at the top of the door.
When the door shuts, the two pieces lock together. For an adult to open the door, you simply slide out the catch and the door releases.
They’re handy because they’re designed to attach to the top of the door, so your kids can’t reach them. This is especially relevant if your kids are getting taller, older and figuring out how to work the babyproofing handle locks.
However, if you’re a short person (adult that is) you may need to use a wand to be able to reach the device when unlocking it.
A Suggestion For Those Planning To DIY Baby Proof Their Doors
Some parents swear by the towel method.
Basically, you throw a folded towel over the top of the door, close to the hinge, and this stops it from fully shutting.
Obviously, this doesn’t solve your problem if you’re trying to keep your child out of that room, but it will help protect their little fingers from getting caught in the door.
As always though, it’s important to remember that a DIY method isn’t guaranteed. A proper babyproofing product (or a combination of products) would potentially provide greater peace of mind.
Involve Your Children In The Safety Process
Childproofing locks and contraptions are great, but accidents can still happen.
So the best thing you can do is teach your children about the risks of doors. Sure, your six-month-old might look at you like “What are you talking about lady? Why are you pointing at that big wall thing that moves? Hurry up and give me my milk already!”
But if you keep repeating it as they get older, it might make a difference.
- Explain to them why slamming a door could hurt them or a sibling.
- Educate them on why they shouldn’t leave the house without an adult.
- Teach them that places like the garage or laundry are no-go zones.
As they get older, this will hopefully make them more cautious. At the least, it’s worth a try.
Baby Proofing Door Products You Should Know About
Sometimes, it can be a race against time trying to babyproof all the doors in your house.
All it takes is a near miss, and suddenly you’re wondering why you didn’t think of this before your little one started crawling. It’s okay, we’ve all been there!
To save you time, we’ve put together a list of locks, covers and other protective devices to help you babyproof all the doors in your home. They’re all available on Amazon for your convenience, and we wouldn’t mention them if we didn’t think they were pretty great at what they do.
But alas, every product has its pros and cons, so be sure to check out our thoughts on each item – and if you find something you like, you can always give it a further squiz and check out what kind of reviews other customers have left on Amazon.
*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.
Category #1: In The Finger Protection Strip Category
Our Favorite Option: Finger Shield and Protector by Pinch-Not
This product attaches to the inside of the door, stopping little fingers from getting crushed in the hinge gap as the door closes.
It’s a very basic design, but it does exactly what it needs to do – it shields the hinge-side opening without limiting the function of the door, so you can open and close it as usual.
This design works on standard doors that open to 90 degrees.
- Easy installation with adhesives – no screws or tools needed.
- Fits both the front and back side of the door.
- Does its job well without impacting your ability to open and close the door as needed.
- Only protects against injuries occurring on the hinge-side of the door. If you’re looking to protect the outer side of the door, you’ll need another product.
- Doesn’t act as a door lock – so if you’re looking to keep a child out of a particular room, you’ll need something else.
Category #2: In The Door Stoppers Category
Our Favorite Option: Finger Pinch Guard by Wittle
These pinch guards are the perfect solution for protecting your little one’s fingers and stopping them from getting trapped inside rooms.
Made from soft foam that won’t damage the door, the C-shaped device can be placed on either the outer edge of the door, or the top of the door.
There’s four in one pack.
- The flexible shape allows it to fit around any size door.
- As easy as any ‘installation’ gets – you just pop them on the door, make sure it’s properly attached, and you’re done.
- You can take it on and off whenever needed, with minimal hassle.
- Only stops the door from slamming shut onto little hands – if you’re trying to keep your kids out of a particular room, this isn’t the product for you.
- While it stops injuries from occurring on the outer edge of the door, the pinch guards aren’t designed to protect against injuries from the hinge-side.
Category #3: In The Door Handle Cover Category (For Doorknobs)
Our Favorite Option: Doorknob Covers by Jool Baby Products
These doorknob covers are super simple (yet effective) to use, which is why we love them.
Their design makes it so that only an adult can successfully turn the doorknob, stopping kids from opening doors that you want to keep closed.
You don’t need to use adhesives or screws on your door for installation – it’s a very quick and easy process, you just place the cover around the doorknob and you’re good to go.
It comes in a pack of four.
- A large design that fits most spherical door knobs.
- Simple to install – the cover simply wraps around the knob, with two pieces that clasp together.
- Easy for adults to remove – when your kids are older and this is no longer an effective door child proofing product to use for their age, you simply take off the cover with no risk of damaging the door.
- Not an option if you have door levers – you might think we’re being Mr. Obvious here but this is an easy mistake to make for any sleep-deprived parent!
- While the product is designed to be easily used by an adult, it could potentially be challenging to use for an elderly person or someone with arthritis in the hands.
Category #4: In The Door Handle Cover Category (For Door Levers)
Our Favorite Option: Door Lever Locks by Tuut
While this product may not be as well-known as other brands yet, we love that it has innovatively fixed a design flaw that other door locks face.
If you’ve ever been locked in a room by a toddler that has accidentally triggered the door lock, you’ll know what we’re talking about!
The design makes it way harder for kids to use, with buttons that need to be pressed on the top and the bottom to successfully move the lever.
It also fits most standard door levers and comes in a pack of two.
- Easy adhesive installation.
- Technology specifically designed to stop toddlers from using the lock – no more worries that your child will lock you out while you’re in the room.
- Simple design that doesn’t look clunky or ugly.
- Obviously not an option if you have doorknobs – worth mentioning for all those sleep-deprived parents with shoes on the wrong feet.
- May not work on decorative door handles. Have a good look before you buy.
Category #5: In The Flip Lock Category
Our Favorite Option: Flip Action Door Lock by Prime-Line Products
This product might look small and basic, but it’s actually quite handy.
With just one simple maneuver, the lock can be flipped over, keeping the door secured shut.
We love it for its ease of use and also because it offers extra protection against intruders if you install it on a door that leads out of the home.
- Easy to use for adults – unlike some door locks that can take getting used to, this lock can be easily flipped in one fluid motion.
- Works on doors that swing from either the left or the right.
- If you install it high on the door frame so that children can’t reach it, there’s no risk of your little ones accidentally locking you out.
- Needs to be installed using screws, so if you’re not handy with tools, it might not be your cup of tea. With that being said, you can always get someone else to help you out with this one task.
- Only works on doors that open towards you.
Category #6: In The Top Lock Category
Our Favorite Option: Deluxe Door Top Locks by Safety Innovations
Just want to keep your little one out of certain rooms in the house? Then this device is a great option for you to consider – it installs at the top of the door frame so little hands can’t access the lock, keeping doors firmly shut.
Perfect if you’ve got a baby genius who’s conquered all other locking systems.
- Installs up high, making it pretty impossible for your child to tamper with – no risk of your little one accidentally locking you out (unlike some other products).
- Fits standard size doors.
- Also offers a wand extension so shorter adults can use the lock.
- Doesn’t work on doors thicker than 1 3/8”.
- May not work on very tall doors – designed to fit standard door sizes.
- Requires screw installation, so if you’re not handy with a drill, it may not be the right product for you.
Category #7: In The Sliding Door Category
Our Favorite Option: Sliding Door Lock by Ashtonbee
Finally, an effective door lock that’s specifically designed for sliding doors!
Whether you’re trying to keep your little ones away from the patio, out of your home office or out of the closet, this lock should do the job.
You flip to unlock and press down to relock, but the best part is it’s just a simple installation. It works by sticking to the sliding door with a durable adhesive.
It comes in a pack of two.
- Adhesive installation – no screwing or drills required!
- Works well on most surfaces.
- Versatile and offers multiple solutions – can be used on sliding doors, windows and closets.
- Only works if it’s a sliding door mechanism – for other door styles, check out our other product recommendations.
- Although it’s designed not to leave marks when you remove it, with adhesives there’s always the risk of residue staying behind if you don’t peel it off properly.
Category #8: In The Safety Gate Category
Our Favorite Option: Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate by Summer Infant
If you can’t find a door lock to suit your baby proofing needs with all the options we’ve mentioned above, a baby gate could be the next best thing.
If you find yourself in this situation, this safety gate is a popular option because it’s easy to install, convenient to use and shuts on its own.
It’s suitable for openings that are between 28.5 to 48 inches wide.
- Easy pressure-mounted installation (with hardware included in case you want to use it on stairs).
- Great height, standing at 36 inches tall.
- Closes automatically, for extra peace of mind.
- Most safety gates are only aimed at children up to two years old – any older and they may have developed enough physical capabilities that enable them to open or climb over it.
- The self-closing mechanism is obviously a great safety feature, but it can slam shut quite loudly, which might be an annoying problem in some households.
Wrapping It Up & Why Supervision Is So Important
Lastly, it’s important to remember that the best way you can protect your kids is to keep an eye on them.
We know. It’s a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s always worth repeating.
The risk is that childproofing products can let you fall into a false sense of security. Sure, they’re a great help, but accidents do happen, and any device can fail for whatever reason. So, always be vigilant, as best as you can.
And remember, you think childproofing your doors is hard? Wait until they’re teenagers and they’re climbing out their windows and shimmying down the drainpipes at night!
Until then, happy babyproofing! Oh and let us know how you go in the comments below. Share your tricks. Found a product that you love? Let us know!