You know what’s fun? Babyproofing cabinets! YAY. It’s a babyproofing party and you’re invited. Woo-hoo!
Okay … it’s not fun and there’s no party, but it’s still super important. And if you get it out of the way today, you can put your feet up tomorrow and relax knowing your little one is safe, and all is right in the world.
Alright … you probably can’t relax because your little one is still terrorizing the cat and plotting against the goldfish, but it’ll still feel good!
Right, let’s get into it then.
The Importance Of Babyproofing Cabinets
“What’s all the fuss about babyproofing cabinets?” you might ask. Well, aside from the mess factor (flour and sugar all over the floor, yummy!) it’s all about safety.
Here’s a few reasons why babyproofing cabinets around the house is essential.
Knives and Other Dangerous Objects
While towels and tablecloths are harmless enough, a lot of the everyday items we keep in our cabinets are not. We’re talking about things like knives, matches, batteries, etc. Plus, anything that could shatter, like glassware, can be equally dangerous to your child.
Still, we have to store them somewhere, right? With babyproofing products in place, you can. You just need to be smart about it.
Chemicals and Other Poisonous Goods
Did you know that one and two-year-olds are more likely to experience poisoning than any other age group?
A report by the National Capital Poison Center in 2016 found that cosmetics, personal care products, cleaning substances and pain medications were some of the main causes. All of which you’ll often find stored in cabinets.
To avoid accidental ingestion, a lock of some kind is essential.
Shutting Doors on Fingers
Cabinet doors and little curious fingers don’t go well together.
There’s nothing worse than watching your child nursing a sore hand after getting it caught by the cabinet door.
Not to mention, a sore hand is the least of your worries. If a cabinet door is slammed shut with force, more significant injuries can occur, and you might find yourself rushing to the hospital.
A lock that keeps the cabinet door firmly shut can help you avoid all this pain and trouble.
When Should You Start Babyproofing Your Cabinets?
Ideally, cabinets should be secure by the time your baby is crawling and pulling themselves up onto things.
According to Baby Center, on average most babies start crawling around 8 months – some even earlier.
At this developmental stage, cabinet handles will be very alluring for your little one. They might even try using the handles as leverage to stand.
It’s around this age they’ll become even more curious, and before you know it, they’ll have learned how to open the cabinets.
So it’s best to get those cabinet locks installed well in time.
The Sooner, The Better
Alternatively, if you’re still pregnant and planning ahead, there’s no shame in babyproofing sooner rather than later.
Some parents like to get all the babyproofing out of the way in time for baby’s arrival – it means you won’t be racing against the clock, rushing to choose and install locks when your toddler is already starting to rummage.
But if you’ve already reached this point, don’t stress. With our tips and recommendations, your cabinets will be secure in no time.
Which Cabinets Should You Prioritize When Babyproofing?
You know your home better than anyone – so you’re the expert when it comes to babyproofing your cabinets.
But if you’re suffering from baby brain and need some inspiration – the Cleveland Clinic suggest that the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, shed and garage are definitely worth babyproofing. These are places where cabinets are likely to hold some things your baby shouldn’t be accessing.
Also, pay particular attention to those low-lying cabinets that tiny humans can most easily reach. These are a good place to start.
The Nemours Foundation also offer a great babyproofing tip: try crawling around your home on your hands and knees.
It’ll give you a similar perspective to your baby. It might help you find some cabinets you’ve forgotten (and possibly last night’s dinner smeared under the couch by a certain somebody).
How To Choose The Best Cabinet Locks For Your Home
It all depends on the type of cabinet you have, how often you use it and your own preferences (let’s be honest, some locks are fiddlier than others).
- Some babyproofing products can be installed using adhesives – easy!
- Others need to be screwed in using a drill – slightly more involved, but very secure!
- Some are even designed to attach to the handles, rather than the frame.
- Some require keys, while others can just be unlatched using buttons or trigger points.
Sure, there’s a lot to consider. But the great thing is that with so many different types available, there’s bound to be something that suits your needs perfectly.
Which leads us to our next question…
What Kinds Of Babyproofing Products Are Available For Cabinets?
Let’s take a look at a few of your options:
1) Magnetic Locks
They’re made up of two pieces, with one sitting inside the cabinet frame and the other attached to the inside of the cabinet door. When you shut it, the pieces lock together.
How It Works
To open it, you hold a small magnetic key to the outside of the door, causing the inner magnetic lock to release.
The lock is fully on the inside of the cabinet, with nothing to show on the outside. This means there’s nothing to catch your child’s interest. And it won’t ruin the aesthetic of your cabinet (if that’s important to you).
You’ll need the magnetic key to open it. Some people might find this tedious, especially if it’s a cabinet you use regularly. You’ll also have to keep the key somewhere safe, so you don’t lose it.
2) Spring-Action Locks
These locks are made up of two pieces, one on the frame and the other on the inside of the cabinet door. They use a spring-action system to open.
How It Works
You pull the door as far as it will go (an inch or so usually) and then push down on the exposed lock. This then releases the lock and the cabinet door will open fully.
The lock is hidden on the inside of the cabinet. So there’s nothing to grab your child’s interest and it won’t ruin the cabinet’s aesthetic (if this is important to you).
Because the cabinet opens a crack before the lock is even released, little hands could still get caught.
3) Sliding Cabinet Locks
With their U-shape design, these babyproofing products are made for cabinets with two handles, side by side.
How It Works
To put it on, you position the lock around the handles and then slide it until it’s nice and tight. To release, you squeeze the outside and it will slide right off.
No installation required – the lock simply slides through the handles of your cabinet doors. It’s also easy to remove and shouldn’t leave any marks.
Only works on cabinets with two side-by-side handles.
4) Adjustable Straps
With adhesives on either end of the strap, you simply stick each end onto the cabinet doors or frame, and shorten it as needed.
How It Works
To open, you either pull or squeeze the latch on the strap, depending on the design.
These straps are usually easy to install. Depending on the design, they’re also usually very versatile so you can buy a set and use them on cabinets, drawers, fridges, toilet seats, etc.
While adhesives make them easy to apply, there’s also the risk it might come off more easily too. Especially if a child is constantly pulling and tugging at it.
5) Cords And Buckles
This type of babyproofing product attaches to the handles of your cabinets. The cord or buckle fits around the handles, holding them together.
How It Works
To release, you either pull the buckle, or pull on the cord. This then releases the handles, and allows the cabinet doors to open.
No drilling or adhesives required, so they’re easy to remove when you’re done. On the same token, they won’t leave any marks (which is great if you’re renting).
Only works if you have side-by-side cabinet handles. The cord or buckle may also look fun for your toddler to play with. So they might fiddle with it until the novelty wears off.
Things To Watch Out For
- Check out the reviews on any product before you buy it. That way you can get an idea of the pros and cons unique to that particular brand.
- Don’t forget that some cabinet locks will require installation using screws. If you’re not handy using tools, this might be something to factor in.
- If you’re renting, there might be restrictions on what you can do. For example, you might need approval before drilling into the cabinets.
Is There A DIY Method?
These days, you can pretty much guarantee there is a DIY method for everything.
In this video, they use an elastic band to lock a cabinet shut.
Not sure how safe this would be (especially if the elastic band broke, or if little fingers still managed to pull it open a crack), but it’s always interesting to see what kinds of DIY methods people are using.
As a recommendation, we’d probably still suggest finding a babyproofing product that’s been tried and tested – but hey, if you’re looking for a temporary solution while you’re busy choosing a quality product, it’s probably better than nothing.
Other Tips For Babyproofing Cabinets
While a babyproofing lock will keep your cabinet shut, there’s a few other things you can do to further protect your little ones.
1) Make Sure It’s Secured to the Wall
If you have a free-standing cabinet, it’s important to make sure it’s not at risk of falling on your child. If you’re worried, consider attaching your free-standing cabinet to the wall.
2) Remove Dangerous Items From Low-Lying Cabinets
It might be a good idea to save the high cabinets for your most dangerous items – like matches and knives. Obviously, your babyproofing product should be doing its job, but this is just an extra precaution.
3) Leaving One Cupboard Your Child Can Play In
Some parents recommend leaving one low-lying cabinet accessible for your baby, to relieve their curiosity. They suggest filling it with baby-friendly items like plastic containers or towels. Anything your baby could play with risk-free, really.
The thinking behind this is that your little one will happily play with this cabinet, leaving the others (which are locked) alone.
While this is a valid idea, and one you might consider, it’s important to remember that it won’t stop cabinet doors shutting on their fingers. Something you should think about.
Our Top Cabinet Babyproofing Product Recommendations
Uh oh, is baby already making a move on the cabinets?
Unfortunately, sometimes our little geniuses are one step ahead – and that can leave us scrambling to find babyproofing products really fast. Time is not on our side in this one!
To help you out, because we’ve all been there, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite babyproofing locks and latches for cabinets. Our pros and cons comparisons for each of these products should at least give you a good place to start.
*Note: Upon clicking on any of the links in this section, you will be redirected to the respective product listings on Amazon.com where you can learn about the product’s price, customer rating & customer reviews.
Category #1: Magnetic Locks
A) Our Top Recommendation For An Adhesive Installation: Magnetic Cabinet Locks by Jambini
These cabinet locks are a great option because they’re invisible from the outside and can only be opened with the magnetic key.
But best of all, they’re so easy to install.
Not handy with a screwdriver? Not a problem, because these locks have a strong adhesive that simply sticks onto the cabinet. It’s very simple and just about anyone could do it.
This pack comes with 4 locks and 1 key.
- There is a switch that will disengage the lock. Perfect if your child is not around and you temporarily need easy access to the cabinet.
- Fast installation – only takes minutes to stick on the lock.
- Designed with 3M adhesives, providing a strong and durable application.
- Only comes with 1 key, so you’ll need to keep it safe and try not to lose it!
- Be careful if your cabinet is unusually thick. If it’s too thick, the magnetic key may not work properly, and you may need to consider a different style of lock.
B) Our Top Recommendation For A Screw Installation: Magnetic Locking System by Safety 1st
Adhesives aren’t for everybody and sometimes you just need the peace of mind that comes with a more permanent installation – we get it. In which case, you can’t go past this magnetic lock that installs using screws.
Once it’s installed, you can rest assured the lock is secured firmly in place. Plus, it can be used on both cabinets and drawers, so you can childproof your whole kitchen and bathroom if need be.
This pack comes with 8 locks and 1 key.
- If you need to disengage the lock temporarily, you can do so. Also has a visual indicator that lets you know if it’s locked or unlocked whenever you need to do a quick check.
- The screws ensure a resilient installation.
- With 8 locks in the pack, you should have enough to secure all your most dangerous cabinets.
- Needs to be installed using screws. If you’re not confident using tools or don’t want holes in your cabinet, this might not be the best option for you.
- If you’re using the 8 locks across multiple areas of the house, keep in mind there’s only 1 key in the pack – some people might find this inconvenient.
Category #2: Spring-Action Locks
A) Our Top Recommendation For An Adhesive Installation: Child Safety Latches By The Good Stuff
If you’re looking for a cabinet lock that’s completely invisible from the outside, doesn’t need a key to open it, and doesn’t require any tools to install – this is worth a look.
It’s installed by a simple adhesive. Just stick it on the cabinet and that’s it. But the best part is it comes with both a catch and a latch, so it will work on pretty much any cabinet.
- Easy to install – no need for drilling or screws.
- Works on cabinets with and without a lip.
- No key needed to open it!
- Durable 3M adhesive.
- Because it’s a spring-action lock there’s the chance that tinny little fingers could still technically poke through the gap and potentially get caught.
- As is always the risk with adhesives, some people complain that it doesn’t stick properly. This is always a potential concern with any adhesive product.
B) Our Top Recommendation For A Screw Installation: Spring-Action Cabinet Lock by KidCo
If you want the extra peace of mind that a screw-installed spring-action lock provides, this is a great option for you to consider.
It offers all the usual benefits of the spring-action design – no need for keys and a lock that is completely invisible from the outside.
Plus, with a limited internal reach, it’s designed to keep little fingers out.
- Designed to be ‘shorter’ so there’s only an internal reach of about 1 and a half inches. This makes it harder for little fingers to get inside.
- Has a switch so you can temporarily turn the lock off when your children aren’t around.
- Includes additional hardware for frameless cabinets.
- You’ll need to install it using screws. If you’re not handy with tools, then an adhesive option might be more suitable.
- Some people complain the latch is too short and they can’t get their fingers in to open the lock. But this is obviously a safety feature to keep our little ones out of trouble with their tiny fingers (as explained above). Check the measurements before you buy and make sure it will work on your particular cabinet.
Category #3 – Sliding Locks: Sliding Cabinet Locks by Secure Home by Jessa Leona
If you’re low on time and need a quick-fix lock for your cabinet, this is probably as quick as it gets.
There’s no ‘installation’ required – just as the name suggests, you simply slide the lock onto the cabinet and it keeps the cabinet doors secured together.
This pack comes with 4 sliding locks.
- Doesn’t use screws or adhesives, so you can rest assured it won’t leave behind any damage or marks on the cabinet.
- Works on both D-shaped handles and mushroom-shaped cabinet knobs.
- You don’t need to use a key to open it.
- Only works on double cabinet doors, as it needs to secure the 2 handles together. If you have a single cabinet with 1 handle, you’ll need a different style of lock.
- Sliding locks are 100% on the outside of the cabinet and quite noticeable – if you’d prefer something that is less visible, a different style of lock might be better for you.
Category #4 – Adjustable Straps: Xtraguard Dual Action Multi Use Latches by Munchkin
We love these straps because they’re so easy to install – the adhesive just sticks to the cabinet. Plus, you don’t need a key to open them.
They’re also extremely versatile – in addition to cabinets, they can also be used for babyproofing drawers, fridges, toilet seats and more.
The pack comes with 2 latches.
- Easy adhesive application.
- Designed so you can remove them without damaging the cabinet surface.
- If the kids aren’t around and you temporarily need easy access to the cabinet (e.g. while cooking) you can easily leave them unlatched.
- Some people don’t like the look, especially because they’re completely visible on the outside of the cabinet.
- While they’re perfect for babies and young toddlers, you might find that older children (e.g. 4 years and up) might be a little savvier and figure out how to open them.
Category #5: Cords and Buckles
A) Our Top Recommendation For Cabinet Door Knobs: Baby Safety Cabinet Locks By KisCords
These innovative cabinet locks are perfect for cabinets with side-by-side knobs.
If you’re not confident with a drill and too afraid to use adhesives on your cabinet, you’ll be relieved to know that this product is simply a cleverly designed cord.
But while it’s simple in nature, it’s anything but simple in effect – the cord wraps around the knobs, keeping them securely locked in place.
- No need to drill into your cabinets or use adhesives. The cord won’t damage your cabinet or leave behind any marks.
- Small, portable and easy to remove so you can take them to grandma’s and even on vacation!
- Will fit knobs up to 6 inches apart.
- You don’t need to use a key to open the cabinet.
- Not for handles. For side-by-side cabinet knobs only.
- The cord may take a bit of getting used to in order to work properly.
- You will need two hands to properly open them.
B) Our Top Recommendation For Cabinet Door Handles: Baby Safety Cabinet Locks for Handles by KisCords
If you’ve got side-by-side cabinet handles, this innovative babyproof buckle is a great option for you to consider.
It might look like just a simple zip-tie strap, but this product (which works by securing the handles together) is really very clever.
And, to top it off, you don’t need to use a drill or adhesive to install it, and it doesn’t require a key to open.
- Takes hardly any time to install them on your cabinet.
- No drilling or adhesives needed, so won’t mark or damage your cabinet.
- Works on handles up to an impressive 7 inches apart.
- No need for a key!
- Doesn’t work on knobs. Only for side-by-side handles.
- Must be cut off to remove them. This means you can’t just take them on and off as you wish (e.g. you can’t just take them with you on vacation).
Can’t Find A Lock That Works?
If you can’t find a cabinet lock that meets your needs, you may need to think outside the box.
One solution that some parents use as a last resort is a baby gate. This will stop your little ones from accessing the area.
For example, you might put a baby gate in the doorway to your kitchen.
Remember, Proper Supervision is Still The Safest Option
A high-quality cabinet lock is great, and will certainly ensure your house is a safer place for your babies and toddlers to explore.
But remember, no lock offers 100% protection. No matter what the brand promises or how strong the design, accidents happen.
Our advice? Always be vigilant and provide proper supervision.
Especially if your little one is waging war on the cat or eyeing off the goldfish…
Oh and do let us know your own babyproofing tips for your cabinets. What worked or didn’t work for you? We’d love to know!