Babyproofing cabinets is a must for nearly every home. You want to make sure that:
- Your child can’t access dangerous objects or choking hazards that are stored in cabinets
- Your child can’t pull out heavy objects that could cause injury
- Your child’s hands are protected from injuries that can occur from being pinched or slammed by a closing cabinet door
Babyproofing Cabinets: Tips to Get You Started
As with most babyproofing tasks, you want something that is:
- Easy for adults to operate
- Very difficult for children to figure out
Unfortunately, this is one area of babyproofing in which the cheapest solution usually doesn’t pan out long-term. Many of the cheapest solutions tend to either be a breeze for children to get by or so difficult to open and close that adults eventually take the lock off and never replace it. Let’s try to avoid both of those situations!
Once your child is old enough that pinching is not as much of a concern, you might want to consider leaving one or two cabinets unlocked. Stock these cabinets with safe items such as tupperware, plastic bowls or plastic measuring cups. This will buy you some precious time as your child explores “his” or “her” cabinets.
I’m going to throw in a reminder here: be sure to move all hazardous chemicals and medicines out of easy-to-reach cabinets.
Babyproofing Cabinets: Recommended Products
The holy grail of cabinet locks are the Safety 1st Magnetic Cabinet Locks (~$25 for 8 locks and 1 key). If installed properly, these suckers are literally impossible for baby to get by. Better yet, they are completely invisible as they are mounted to the inside of the cabinet door. To open the door, you simply hold a magnetic key to the outside of the cabinet. If you use these, be sure to buy at least a couple of extra keys to avoid being locked out. You can strategically stash the keys near clusters of cabinets for easy access. Bonus: you toggle the locks between the locked and unlocked positions, which comes in handy if you have house guests or your child ages out of the need for locks.
- Nearly impossible for children to open
- Easy access for adults
- Aesthetically pleasing; mounts to inside of cabinet
- Must keep track of magnetic key to open cabinets
- Requires drilling
- Installation more difficult than other options
A second great option for securing cabinets are the EliteBaby Adjustable Child Safety Locks (~$16 for 8). These stick to the outside of your cabinets with strong adhesive. A push and slide mechanism is easy for adults to use once you get the hang of it. While these work well, the big downside is they are rather bulky and can be an eyesore, especially if you have many of them stuck all over your kitchen.
- Easy for adults to use
- Difficult for children to figure out
- Simple installation, no drilling required
- Adhesive can pull paint off when locks are removed
- Cannot be adjusted after installation
If you have knobs on your cabinets, a final option that tends to work well are the Kiscords Baby Safety Locks (~$10 for 5). These are long-ish cords that are wrapped around the knobs and tightened via a sliding lock. Besides be relatively cheap, these are also pretty easy to operate; unfortunately, they can be easy for kids to operate as well. If you have a persistent child, you might find they figure these out sooner rather than later.
- Relatively cheap
- Easy to install
- No drilling required
- Only works on cabinets with knobs
- Can be an eyesore
- Relatively easy for kids to figure out
Babyproofing Cabinets: DIY Option
You can loop rubber bands or hair ties around cabinet knobs to quickly babyproof cabinets in a pinch. Just be careful; if your child gets a hold of the bands, they are considered a choking hazard. Additionally, children can be injured by snapping rubber bands; this is especially a concern at eye level, where a stray band could cause serious eye injury. Many older kids will also pull these off in no time. For these reasons, I recommend you use these only as a temporary measure.