how to baby proof drawers

Baby proofing drawers

Did you know that emptying drawers is beneficial to toddler development? But that’s not much comfort when they are hell bent on getting into the cutlery drawer for the 10th time in a day. Never fear – there are several options to help keep both your baby and the contents of your drawers and cabinets safe. And the options for baby proofing drawers and cabinets are all relatively inexpensive.

Here we’ve listed the best options on the market.

Option 1  – magnetic child locks

Magnetic locks are a relatively new and ingenious solution to baby proofing  drawers and cabinets. You attach the device to the inside of your drawers or cabinets (it is completely invisible from the outside). When you want to open the drawer or cabinet, simply place the magnetic key against the front of the door.

Choose your model wisely and these locks will provide the perfect way to baby proof drawers without drilling.

Pros:

  • they are invisible so they will not change the look of your cabinets or drawers.
  • they can be used even if your drawers or cabinets don’t have handles.
  • some brands can be attached with 3M adhesive tape rather than screws, so they are perfect for rental properties.
  • the locks have an off switch so you can turn them off when not needed. This would be great for say grandparents who only want to use the locks when they are babysitting.
  • little fingers will be kept safe because the drawer or cabinet door can’t be opened even partially without the key/ magnet.

Cons:

  • they are the most expensive option on the market.
  • the doors or the drawers cannot be too thick or the magnet won’t work.
  • they don’t work on metal surfaces.
  • you’ll need a magnetic key to open them which can be a bit of a pain but if you lose the key, you can use any strong magnets to open the lock.
  • the 3M adhesive tape may wear out if the drawer or door is pulled too hard.

Overall this is one of the best options on the market for baby proofing drawers and cabinets. They are invisible and easy to install. Just remember to keep the magnet out of reach of your  baby but handy so that you can access it whenever you need to open  the drawer or cabinet (keeping the magnet up high on the fridge would work).

This Youtube video will give you an idea of how to use and install these magnetic baby proofing locks:

 

Check out the top rated magnetic lock on Amazon.

 

Option 2 – strap door locks

These adjustable straps stick to the outside of the drawer or cabinet using 3M adhesive tape. You open them by simply releasing a clasp.

The straps are great for baby proofing drawers and cabinets as they are  adjustable and can be used almost anywhere – even on toilet lids, the trash can, the oven and the fridge.

Pros

  • they don’t require a magnet/key to open them.
  • they are quick and easy to install.
  • they can be used even if your drawers or cabinets don’t have handles.
  • no drilling or screwing required, making them suitable for rental properties.
  • you should be able to remove them when not required by just peeling off the 3M adhesive tape.
  • they’re adjustable so you can use them on many objects around the house – even the toilet if needs be.
  • you may find it easier to have just one type of lock to contend with for all your baby proofing needs, especially if you are sleep deprived.

Cons

  • they are visible on the outside of the drawer or cabinet.
  • you can’t just “turn them off” when  you don’t need them (like you can with some of the other baby proofing options).
  • drawers and cabinets can still be opened a small amount – just enough for little fingers to get caught unfortunately.
  • a curious and determined toddler may be able to work out how to open them.
  • the straps can be pulled off if a drawer or cabinet door is yanked open too vigorously,
  • the 3M tape if removed incorrectly, may take off some of the paint on the drawer or cabinet door (see our tip below for removing 3M tape).

This Youtube video will give you an idea of how strap door locks work:

Check out the top selling strap locks on Amazon.

Option 3  – spring latch locks

A spring latch lock comes in 2 parts.  The latch attaches to the back of your drawer or door with 3M adhesive tape or screws. It connects with the lock you attach to above the drawer or door. To release the lock, you need to open the drawer or door a little, and then push down on the lock.

Pros

  • they are invisible so will not change the look of your cabinets or drawers.
  • some brands do not require any drilling. They simply attach with 3M adhesive tape.
  • they can be used even if your drawers or cabinets don’t have handles.
  • they don’t require a magnet/key to open them.
  • they can easily be opened by an adult with one hand.
  • even though the 3M adhesive tape may be difficult to remove once you are finished with the locks, any issues will be hidden in the inside of the drawer or door.
  • the lock has an off switch so you can turn them off when not needed.

Cons

  • the drawer or cabinet will still be able to be partially opened. Determined little fingers may get squashed.
  • as they are not visible from the outside, an adult may forget they are there and yank too hard on the drawer or cabinet.
  • a determined, strong toddler may be able to break the locks by simply yanking hard on the drawer or door.

This Youtube video will give you an idea of how spring latch locks work:

 

Check out the top selling spring latch locks on Amazon.

Option 4 – sliding locks

Sliding locks are basically a buckle that goes over the knobs of your drawers or the door handles of your cabinet. To open them, you need to hold down two buttons with your fingers and slide it open.

Pros

  • no installation required at all (not even adhesive tape)- they simply slide on and off the handles or knobs of your drawers or cabinets. Sliding locks are probably the best baby proofing solution for rental properties.
  • you can reuse them as many times as you like.
  • they can be easily removed when not in use.
  • they could potentially be taken with you when visiting grandparents or on vacation etc.

Cons

  • they are very visible on the outside of the drawer or cabinet and really don’t look that attractive.
  • the lock requires 2 hands to open it.
  • drawers and cabinets can still be opened a small amount – just enough for little fingers to get caught unfortunately.
  • they won’t work if your drawers or cabinets don’t have handles.
  • older children may be able to figure out how to open them.

This Youtube video will give you an idea of how sliding locks work:

Check out the top selling sliding locks on Amazon.

Option 5  – cord locks

Cord locks are a simple way of baby proofing drawers and cabinets  whereby you simply place the cord around two adjacent cabinet or drawer knobs  and then pull the cord so that it encloses tightly around the knobs.

Pros

  • they are quick and easy to install.
  • no drilling or adhesive tape necessary, making them suitable for rental properties.
  • they can be easily removed when not in use.
  • you can reuse them as many times as you like.
  • they could potentially be taken with you when visiting grandparents or on vacation etc.

Cons

  • they require two hands to open.
  • they will only work on drawers or cabinets that have knobs that are close together.
  • the drawer or cabinet will still be able to be partially opened. Determined little fingers may get squashed.
  • they are visible from the outside.

This Youtube video will give you an idea of how cord locks work:

 

Check the price of cord locks on Amazon.

Option 6 for baby proofing drawers – DIY methods

Okay so none of the following methods will be as convenient as the professional methods of baby proofing drawers and cabinets. They also won’t look as good. But they can get the job done for next to nothing.

The elastic band method.

This one only works if your drawers or cabinets have knobs that aren’t spaced too far apart. Just wrap a thick elastic band around the knobs of your drawers tightly in an 8 shaped loop (you may need to do this a couple of time to prevent any gaps that little fingers could get into).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rod method.

This method only works if your drawers have handles. Find a rod that runs the length of your drawers and simply run it down through the handles. Of course, everytime you want to open one of the drawers, you are going to have to remove the entire rod which can be a pain – but it’s a pretty cheap method and there is no drilling or tape required.

The zip tie method

If you have drawers or cabinets that you don’t use very much but still contain things you don’t want your child getting into, simple zip ties will do the trick. They’re cheap and you may even already have some around the house. Of course the downside of using zip ties is that you will need to cut them every time you want to get into a drawer.

 

FAQs for baby proofing drawers and cabinets

What’s the best way to babyproof a drawer or dresser?

That depends entirely on your needs. The following table provides a quick guide on the pros and cons of each baby proofing method:

 Reusable/ suitable for travelNo drillingInvisible Doesn’t require handles or door knobsCan be “turned off”/ disabledAble to be opened with one handCan’t be opened even partially
Magnetic locks X √X
Strap door locksXXX
Spring latch locksXXX
U shaped sliding locksXXXX
Cord locksXXXX

 

 

Why do you need to babyproof drawers?

Pinched, bruised and even broken fingers from slamming drawers. Dangerous content in drawers.

 

Should I encourage my baby to play with drawers?

Yes! It is good for their development. They are actually learning that even when an object is hidden within a drawer, it still exists. After baby proofing the dangerous drawers, keep a few baby friendly drawers unlocked. Fill them with baby safe objects such as toys, Tupperwear containers, wooden spoons, spatulas etc. and let them get stuck in. You may also want to change up the contents of their ÿes drawer”  every once in a while to keep things interesting.

 

What’s the cheapest way to babyproof drawers? 

See our DIY options above.

How do I baby proof the drawers if I’m renting?

You can absolutely baby proof your drawers without drilling. If you’re renting, choose locks that do not need to be hardware mounted. A tension rod (see above) is a good option.

 

Can I 100 percent rely on any of these methods to keep my child safe?

unfortunately no lock is going to be 100 percent childproof. Some kids are more determined than others. It is best to keep anything dangerous like cleaning supplies, batteries, plastic bags and knives up high.

If your child is very observant you may want to be discrete when opening the locks so they can’t see how to open them.

 

How can I remove 3M adhesive tape without removing the paint / damaging my drawers or cabinets? 

Some of the above baby proofing options require you to use 3M adhesive tape. A word of warning – this can be difficult to remove and can easily damage your drawers or cabinets. The easiet way to remove 3M tape is to use a hair dryer to blow hot air on the piece  you are trying to remove for about 20 seconds. This will loosen the bond of the tape. Then while still applying the hot air, gently and slowly pry the tape off with a knife.

 

You might also be interested in our ultimate baby proofing checklist.

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