Wondering how to baby proof cabinets? I’m here to give you simple and practical DIY solutions on how to baby proof drawers, with or without handles, and how to baby proof cabinets with or without handles. It’s for your baby’s safety.
Baby Proofing Your Home – What You Need to Know
Call them nosy, busybodies or naughty, the fact remains: growing babies are naturally inquisitive. Even when surrounded with multiple toys, babies are always on the hunt for something better to play with. Finding out what exactly is hidden inside those cupboards is part of the adventure. You can never stop a baby from exploring. And quite frankly you shouldn’t. It’s part of the growing process. Just make sure the environment is safe and baby-friendly: your plants, dog bowl, or your wine rack. In this section, I reveal all: why baby proofing drawers or cabinets is necessary and how you go about it.
Why Baby Proof Drawers
Often when we mention baby proofing the house, protecting your little one from electrical, water, fire, and stairway hazards top the discussion. Not to mention avoiding the possibility of your little one ingesting dangerous plants around the house. Baby proofing drawers should definitely be part of that list. Why? Drawers can be dangerous especially to babies based on the following factors:
- They house all sorts of objects, some of which are potentially dangerous if your little one gets their hands on them. Knives, sharp items, and medicine are just a few examples.
- Even if there are no harmful items in the drawers, prepare to clean up the mess once your baby spews the entire contents of the drawer across the kitchen floor!
- Drawers contribute to finger injuries which are very common among toddlers. There’s a risk of your child closing the drawers on their fingers. Imagine the pain! It happened to my daughter unfortunately too many times with the drawers in the kitchen.
- Depending on the size of the drawer, it’s also very easy for your child to pull the drawer on top of them resulting in serious injury.
- Think of drawers as your child’s very own ladder to reach higher surfaces. Dangerous much?
- Baby proofing drawers is as much for your own good as it is for your baby. They could just slam them repeatedly causing premature wear and tear. Call it protecting your investment.
What to Consider When Baby proofing Drawers
The most common way to baby proof your cabinets is by using drawer locks. Just be sure to keep the following considerations in mind before making your purchase:
- Does the lock allow you to close the drawer completely? Picking locks that leave gaps for little fingers to fit through isn’t a good idea. Even the smallest gap can make it easy for your little one to fit their little finger and risk getting squashed.
- Is the lock sturdy? Opt for a robust lock that your child can’t get around the mechanism. Mind you babies are pretty smart.
- Is it easy to use? Remember that you’ll be using your drawers daily. While you want to pick a sturdy lock, make sure it’s simple enough for you to open. You don’t need a lock that’ll leave you fiddling for minutes before you can open the drawer. Parents have enough stress to deal with without adding a frustrating drawer to the equation.
- Does it need to be hard-mounted? Some locks may require you to permanently modify the drawers. If you’re renting the property, you might want to check in with the landlord first.
How to Baby Proof Drawers With Handles
You can consider using the following.
Tension rods — also commonly used as curtain rods — can be effective at securing your drawer handles. Simply find a size that fits inside the handles and run it vertically through all the handles. Where possible, pick a rod with rubber ends that you can easily secure under the countertop’s lip so your baby doesn’t pull it out with ease. These sturdy Aizesi tension rods are worth considering. They are available in different sizes, so you can pick the perfect size for your drawer. Just bear in mind that tension rods are fairly pricy. Also, when you want to open a particular drawer, you’ll have to remove the entire rod. And as your kid grows older, they’ll soon figure out how to remove the rod. Besides, they’ve watched you do it multiple times!
Using Velcro is a quick and effective way to childproof your cabinets that don’t have handles. You place the two adhesive strips inside the drawer; one on top and the other at the bottom. After which you place two more strips on the opposite side. When the cabinets are closed, the strips securely attach together preventing your child from pulling the drawer open. Pick strips with a strong adhesive such as these quality adhesive hook and loop fasteners manufactured by Stronghold. The upside to using Velcro strips is that you don’t have to worry about drilling into your furniture. However, this option is only effective when your kid is still young. Older babies are much stronger and can easily rip the Velcro apart.
To avoid the risk of having the drawer fall on top of your child, you can consider purchasing a furniture anchor. This is more likely if your kid is now a little older — and stronger. And if your drawers are free-standing units. These anchors are attached to the wall behind your furniture. They are designed to stop the drawers from tipping over entirely which may hurt your child.
Pull cords are ideal if you have cabinets with round knobs that are placed side-by-side. Place the cord around the knobs, press one of the attachments, and slide it all the way up until the cabinet is secure. Pull cords are every effective because babies find it difficult to loosen these cords. Just make sure that you don’t leave too long a cord strand which might present as a choking hazard for your little one.
How to Baby Proof Drawers Without Handles
You can try out the following.
Magnetic locks are a pretty popular option among many new parents looking to baby proof their drawers without handles. Just note that these need to be hard-mounted inside the drawers. Upon purchasing these locks, you’ll receive a pack consisting of one magnetic key and several locks. With magnetic locks, you simply hold the key in front of the lock and pull the drawer open. What I like about magnetic locks is the sophisticated but discreet design. Certain magnetic locks, for example, the Safety 1st Magnetic Locking System isn’t visible from the outside. Your little one can’t tamper with it.
Latch locks are among the most common items used for childproofing drawers. In fact, latch locks are specifically designed to secure drawers so you know they’ll definitely work. The Dreambaby safety locks are a good option you can consider because they are super easy to install. With latch locks, you simply attach the latch near the top of the drawer and the other piece above the drawer. The latch will then securely hook into the plastic attached. When this happens, it’s impossible for your child to pull the drawer open. If you decide to go with this option, know that these locks need to be drilled into the drawers.
Adjustable Safety Locks
Adjustable safety locks are ideal if you want to secure multiple drawers at once. These locks feature two plastic anchors on either side of a silicon strip. To install this lock, you attach one side to the side of your drawer or cabinet and the other part on the front part. After which you pull the strip tight to ensure the door is kept closed. What I like about adjustable safety locks is that you can use them on drawers of different sizes and they are super easy to install. Have a look at this video for better clarification on how to install the unit. Consider the Wonderkid adjustable safety locks which not only offer a universal fit but are reusable. The only issue with this type of lock is that it can often leave a small gap which allows your little one to squeeze their fingers through.
When is the right time to start child-proofing your home?
It’s really never too early to start child-proofing your home. You can even start as early as three months before your due date. If you feel that’s too early and prefer to do so after your child arrives, at least start before your baby is mobile. Around the 6 month mark is a good place to start. This will give you at least three months to fully child-proof your home since most babies start crawling when they are around nine months.
When should child-proofing end?
Remove child-proofing when you feel your child now understands what danger is and has a better reasoning capacity. Maybe you can consider it when your little one is around five years old.
Is baby proofing your home expensive?
This will depend on multiple factors such as the size of your home and what items need baby proofing. Do you have stairs or not? It also depends on whether you employ DIY methods or hire professional childproofing services.
Childproofing your home is an important exercise that should never be taken lightly by any parent. Remember that it’s an on-going process. You might need to upgrade on some methods as your little one gets older. Even after incorporating the tips mentioned here, try as much as possible to remove potentially harmful objects, chemicals or medicines inside the drawers. Anything can happen; someone may forget to attach the locks after use, locks may loosen or your child may figure out how to open. Always play it safe.