I walked into the room and found my baby wrapped in lotion. I had slipped off to take a bath while she lay asleep, but the nap ended shorter than expected. Then I realized that it was time for baby proofing drawers.
Think of it; kids become more curious in their toddler years and wouldn’t mind going any length to satisfy their curiosity, even when it means hurting themselves. They do not even know what that means.
The drawers and cabinets are usually their best aim. They will either open it to rummage through all the items in there or climb on top to have the best fun of their lives. Both are dangerous.
So, how do we keep our little ones out of our cupboards? This is the question we get every day, and I’m here with answers.
There are many simple ways to keep your kid safe from the cabinet, and we will discuss them one by one. But before that, let us talk about the most important thing.
Keep the dangerous items away
Kids are smart, and most times, they will do things that we thought impossible for their age. For this reason, you should take a step ahead of just locking your drawers and cabinets.
Keeping every dangerous item out is an essential way of baby proofing drawers. That way, if they access the drawer, all they can do is to empty the items on the floor, but they will be safe.
Here are some dangerous things you should take out of your drawer once your child becomes a ninja:
- Sharp knives or cutlery
- Items with sharp or pointed edges
- Plastic bags
- Detergents and other cleaning products
- Small objects that may cause choking
- Electrical appliances with long cords
- Flat irons and other small electrical items
There are more, and sometimes, you may not know an item is dangerous until your child lays his or her hands on it. Those kids are geniuses; they can make something out of nothing.
So, take everything that your mind says can be hazardous and store them high up. If you have firearms, keep them as out of reach as possible.
How to baby proof your drawers
- Magnetic latches
Magnetic latches are the best way of baby proofing drawers and cabinets. They are available in different models, some need drilling, but the others don’t.
The great thing about these latches is that they look classic, and you cannot see them from the outside. They will not give your kitchen an ugly look.
Some of these latches work with a rather complex mechanism. You will place them as adhesives inside the drawer. This adhesive will lock up the latch when you close the drawer, and you will disengage the lock with a magnetic key when you want to open it.
Without the key, your child will not be able to access the drawer. So there is no chance of your baby pulling it out a little for their fingers to get stuck. If you use other latches, you may experience this problem, but the magnetic latches are different.
When you are ready to open it, you just need to place the magnetic key to the drawer with one hand, using the other to pull the drawer open.
A pack of latches comes with twelve locks and two keys. You can use them for as many drawers as you like, and if you need more, you can always find them on amazon.
You should know that some magnetic latches are easier to install than others. You will also need to remember where you kept your magnetic key; they are your only access to the drawer.
- Use adjustable safety locks
The adjustable lock system uses one lock for many drawers.
The locks are made with two plastic anchors on both sides with a strip of plastic or silicone strip in the middle.
You will put one end of the strip at the side of the drawer or dresser and the other end in front of the drawer and pull the strip very tight to keep the door closed.
When you want to release this lock, you just click a button on the door.
The good thing about this drawer is that it has adjustable strips that can work for different sizes of drawers. Also, it is easy to install and open them.
However, these adjustable locks can leave some gaps, which can act as a play hole for your child; their finger can get stuck.
Also, it works best for dressers, and it can be challenging to install in kitchen drawers.
- Use tension rods
Tension rods are best used for drawers with handles lined up in a row. It is a cost-effective way of securing all the drawers at once.
You just need to put the rod through all the handles of the drawers in that row.
This method does not need special tension rods. You can use a curtain or shower rod, but ensure that it fits the handles properly and is long enough to run down.
It is safer to use tension rods with rubber ends that will be secured under the lid of the countertop. You do not want your child to get injured with the sharp edges of the rod.
Also, the runner end will make it easy to pull out the rod when you want to own the drawer.
Tension rods are good temporary solutions to baby proof drawers. They are inexpensive to buy, and you only need one rod for a set of drawers. They do not also damage your furniture while in use.
The cons of these rods are that you need to take out the entire rod every time you want to open one drawer. Also, it may not be a practical option after your child grows and learns how to release the tension rods themselves.
- Use furniture anchors to secure dressers
Anchor It, a government website, has reported that every 43 minutes, a child is rushed to the emergency room because of a furniture tipping accident.
This means that your drawers may seem balanced until your child steps on them and has the drawers fall on them.
But your primary focus should not be on the kitchen drawers alone. The dresser, which is a chest of drawers, mainly stands freely and must be held to the wall.
If your baby pulls out the drawer, they will be able to climb on it, and the added weight can make them tip over, leading to a serious injury.
Furniture anchors (or anti-tip strips) can help you secure your dressers, shelves, and dressing tables to the wall.
Use a long stick for emergency baby proofing
If you are yet to get a tension rod or any other method of baby proofing drawers, you can use a long stick to hold the drawers together.
Like the tension rod, the long stick will only work for drawers with aligned handles that can have something pass through them.
This quick DIY method works for both drawers that can and cannot manage the tension rods; however, it is prone to a pinch.
Though the child cannot pull out a single drawer with this method, they can pull all the drawers open at once. You should be careful about this.
How to baby proof your cabinets
It can be more challenging to baby proof cabinets than drawers, but that does not mean that it is impossible.
Though you can still use the methods for baby proofing drawers to baby proof your cabinets, you will also find these helpful.
The Velcro DIY method is a cheap and effective solution for baby proofing cabinets. But it is not foolproof.
Your stronger toddler can get past it, but it is helpful with younger children.
To use this method, you will need to get some Velcro strips, cut them into the appropriate sizes and measure the frame of the cupboard and inner side of the door to line up. After that, place the Velcro pads on them.
Velcro is strong enough to shut the door against little hands tightly, but you will be able to open them by yourself.
- Pull cord locks
You will like these pull cord locks from Amazon if your cabinet has locks that are placed side by side. When you use them, they look like a backpack secured with a cord.
To use, just place the cord around the cabinet knobs, and press one of the attachments so that it slides up to secure the cabinet. You will have a longer single piece of the cord left.
Just press the button and slide down to widen the circle and release the cords when you want to open the cabinet.
This DIY method of baby proofing cabinets will not loosen except you release the cord. It is effective at keeping your child from prying.
But on the downside, you should be careful of the long strings, which are potential choking hazards. To prevent this, go for high-quality pull cord locks that are effective and use shorter cords.
- Sliding locks
The magnetic latches are specially designed for baby proofing drawers, but the sliding locks work well for cabinets.
These locks are shaped U and are similar to that of a bike lock. It goes around two different handles or knobs of a cabinet.
They are available on Amazon in different models, but you will generally be able to open them by pressing on the lock to pull off the more extensive mechanism.
Sliding locks are cheap and effective and work well for cabinets with two doors. They are better than cabinet-specific locks which come with cords that can be dangerous to your baby.
However, your little one’s fingers can get stuck in the tiny gaps created by the lock. Also, older children can quickly figure out how to open the lock.
- Foam bumpers
In as much as you want to protect your kid from getting into the content of the cabinet or drawer, you also want to avoid slamming the door or bruising their fingers.
This is where a foam bumper will help.
You can create one with a hollow pool noodle by cutting off a part of the pool noodle and slitting one side. Wrap this slit part high up around the door, at a place that cannot be easily removed.
- Cover knobs
Children can be injured with large cabinet knobs. That is why you need to cover them with something soft to prevent goose eggs and bruises on your child’s skin.
You can choose this on Amazon or use crocheted covers, tennis balls with one end split, or soft fabrics with a rubber band.
These covers are not just great for preventing injuries; they also work for both cabinet and door knobs that you do not want your child to turn.
However, these knob covers do not always look attractive. This is why other parents mostly ditch them.
Other factors to consider when baby proofing your drawers
- Always look out for them: one of the most effective ways of preventing your kids from opening a drawer is not to open it when they are around. Kids do what their parents do.
- Create fun distractions: wouldn’t it be nice to get your toddler looking somewhere else when they came to pull open the drawer? This is what colorful distractions will do for you. Hang some attractive play toy on the knob or somewhere around the drawer that can take their attention away from the lock.
- Instruct the older children: there comes a time when children know exactly what they want and get past the silly distractions to get it. At this point, you can take advantage of their well-developed brain to tell them what “danger” means. Let them know their limits and what they can do to stay safe.
Keep your kids safe
Kids get curious, and this can harm them. The drawers and cabinet are very important for keeping the house organized but terrible when not baby-proofed.
There are many baby proofing drawer methods you can use based on your need, but if you want something less visible and effective for your drawer, use the magnetic latches.