How to baby proof cabinets?

Svetlana November 11 2021

Children are very curious and like to rummage through the cupboards - especially when you are not in the room. That is why your child must be protected from injuries by the closet doors. If your child likes to open and close closets, you might want to consider using baby-proofing devices for your cabinets.

We have put together a practical collection of tips and product recommendations, so you can be sure to find the perfect child safety device for your kitchen or storage cabinet doors.

Should you leave your baby to crawl alone?

You should always keep an eye on your baby especially if they are crawling. A cabinet protector or a simple door strap will not stop a determined child from opening doors, but it might at least give you enough time to stop the situation from hurting your child.

Taking care! Some older children may learn how to open the lock and be tempted to play alone in a draw or closet - so never leave children unattended with cabinets that have locks.

What about your child`s independence? Is it really necessary to always follow your toddler? Certainly not. But you should always be in the same room so your baby can see what you are doing and doesn`t feel abandoned.

Child safety tips for cabinets

Clearing closets can keep babies and toddlers busy all day, even if you forbid it. Your child will have a lot of fun, but you have to be careful and tidy up all the time. However, there can be dangerous objects in cabinets, as well as things that can break easily. Besides, your child can get caught in the closet doors and suffer injuries.

Even if you never let your child play and crawl alone, there will always be an unobserved moment at some point. In just seconds, the little ones can suddenly do something that they are not allowed to do.

How do you make cabinet doors and kitchen drawers childproof?

Baby-proofing door locks are relatively small and discreet. They are available in different colors that you can choose to match your kitchen cabinets. A white security bar on a white cupboard is hardly noticeable at first glance. One element is attached to the body, the other to the door. 

You can attach the lock to two doors in the same way. They are connected with tape, usually made of tear-resistant plastic. Your child cannot just open the door. On the other hand, you only need one movement. Such locker and drawer locks are usually equipped with a click-lock.

Tip: Such bolts for child safety without drilling are not only available for cupboards, but also electrical appliances. In this way, you prevent your little ones from leaving the refrigerator door open, getting their knives in the dishwasher, or opening the hot oven.

Different types of cabinet locks:

  • Magnetic locks 

Magnetic locks make both practical and inconspicuous cabinet security options for children of all ages. If these are installed on the inside of the door, in drawers or pull-outs, they are completely invisible.

You can also have magnet solutions integrated directly when you are baby proofing your kitchen. In this way, the magnetic surface can be easily moved from one cabinet to another. This version is ideal if you want to make a childproofing of your kitchen with minimum costs and effort.

  • Adhesive mount locks

Adhesive mount locks are easy to install. They are either supplied with double-sided tape or can also simply be attached with screws. The downside is that they cannot be removed without damaging the cabinet door, so you´ll have to make sure not to lose them.

  • Screw mount locks

Screw mount locks for your cabinets are screwed into the wood of your cabinets and remain there permanently - this means that they must not be removed by children who play alone in their room. The advantage is that they can always be used again, even if you change the kitchen furniture. For example, one childproofing device can protect all appliances or cabinets!

What do I take into account when choosing the right lock?

Always check what kind of doors you have in your kitchen before buying a cabinet lock. The product should fit the size and shape of the door. In addition, make sure that you can attach it to your furniture properly and install it correctly.

In the end, every mother has her own way when it comes to child protection. If she doesn't want to change anything in her home, even for her children's sake, then no one will be able to convince her otherwise anyway. Then she should take care very carefully because there is always a hazard at stake!

Anti-slip surfaces

Anti-slip surfaces are ideal if you want to prevent your child from slipping. This is the case with hard floors, such as wood or tiles. It does not matter whether they are in a baby room or kitchen: anti-slip sheets protect children and adults against slipping and falling on slippery surfaces.

If you don`t have any, you have to buy them yourself. Or you can make your own anti-slip surfaces out of rugs or entire mats. This is certainly an option for the child's room, but also for other rooms in your flat.

How to apply anti-slip surface

If you stick it directly on the ground, make sure that the protective layer is not placed against furniture or equipment (e.g., stroller). If you have a rug with children`s motifs or animals, then put it between the baby-proofing item and the furniture piece. That way, they won't slip either!

How to baby proof shelves?

Keeping children away from shelves with breakable items is not that easy. You can try to protect the most valuable items by putting them up high. If you remove all objects, your child can get injured when they are playing there.

It is usually enough to cover the edge of your kitchen cabinets with a safety strip. The adhesive tape will hold firmly and protect the sharp edges on which small children could hurt themselves. Using double-sided tape instead of screws also ensures additional baby proofing so nothing falls off or anything gets dirty in the drawer - even if it is part of an ingenious toy construction!

How do you secure tall cabinets in the kitchen?

You can integrate finger trap protection on tall cabinets. Everyone can still remember how painful pinched fingers are. There are two options here:

  1. A doorstop is clamped into the top of the door edge. So it always stays a little open.
  2. A plate as a hinge lock covers the gap between the door leaf and the frame. Little fingers cannot get in the way.

It is also important that you attach the cabinet to the wall for child safety. With many models, brackets are already included in the scope of delivery. Be sure to use them or get them at the hardware store. If a child leans on the drawers or tries to climb up an open cupboard, it quickly falls over.

There are important considerations to keep in mind:

  • Magnetic fuses are not suitable for very thick wood or metal cabinets.
  • Belt/strap cabinet securing devices are opened in a similar way to a seat belt. These are good for use over corners, as these are flexible but visible.
  • Depending on the model, latches are pressed down to open cupboards and drawers. They are mostly invisible.
  • Some cabinet fuses can be temporarily deactivated. Useful if there are not always small children in the house, for example, when visiting the grandparents.
  • Remove baby-dangerous staff from your cabinets
  • Use a large, colorful plastic basket as a kitchen organizer. Many children love to play with it. When they're done, you can use the container for garbage or recycling.
  • All spices and spice jars have to be put out of reach of small children. You also need child-resistant lids or bottles that your kids cannot open on their own.

Hot water heaters are often located beside dishwashers in kitchens. They should not accidentally injure young ones during hot water preparation. It is advisable to install an effective safety lock between the coffee machine and these appliances so no one can turn on both at once by mistake.   

A knife protector made of plastic is available for many models from leading manufacturers such as Miele, Bosch, or Siemens. Your children will not be able to get their hands on the blades of knives and peelers in your drawer, even if they are secured by a safety lock.

The age recommendation for baby-proofing cabinets

As soon as your baby can crawl, she will playfully explore the world. This is the right time to attach cabinet fuses wherever your child can get trapped or find dangerous objects.

The baby proofing of cabinets and drawers must be done as early as possible. It is usually sufficient to attach a security bar to both doors. For older children, you should choose a safe distance for the latch between the cabinet and the door frame. The handles can also be removed so that it cannot be pushed or pulled open.

When your child discovers how fun it is to climb up furniture, now is the time to correctly secure tall cupboards!

How long will it take to baby proof cabinets?

The time needed depends on your child's development stage. Begin as soon as you have an active crawler!  Some parents worry about their child falling downstairs, so they opt to install railing systems before they even need them.  

Conclusion

Safety strips, safety locks, and other baby proofing devices are available for many cabinet manufacturers. The practical fuses can be purchased from hardware stores or - with a few exceptions - directly from the manufacturer.