There are many dangers lurking in the shadows of your home. While you may not notice them (or see them as dangers to yourself), chances are they will be like magnets for your child, drawing them near.
With their eyes always watching you, they will quickly learn that electrical cords unplug from the wall, books have pages to flip (and tear), and cabinets have doors to open. While each of these areas need special attention when it comes to child proofing your home, we will focus on your cabinets for now.
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The Threats that Hide Within
Your child is mobile, and now she will begin to get into everything. Pretty soon, you will find yourself picking up the same things multiple times a day, wondering how it is that you have so much stuff. Once your little one figures out she can open cabinets, you will find their contents strewn about the house. This is guaranteed to become a nuisance after a while.
You will also have to endure the continuous clamoring of cabinet doors opening and slamming shut, over and over again. After about the fiftieth time, you will start going a little crazy. Then you hear the crying. Cabinet doors are finger smashers. If your cabinets are being opened and closed often by your child, chances are she will slam her little fingers in there at some point, and you don’t want that to happen.
These are not the most urgent matters when it comes to your reasoning behind child proofing your cabinets, though. In areas like your bathroom and kitchen, however, there may be more dangerous things hiding within.
Cleaning chemicals are often stored in the cabinets under the sink. These are poisonous and incredibly hazardous to your child if she were to ingest them. You need to be sure that these cabinets, above all others, are inaccessible to your child.
Rethink Your Storage Method
Your best option would be to move these items to a different area altogether. Consider storing them in a room or area of your house that your child does not enter on her own. Some good options would include a garage or separate laundry room, if you have either in your home.
Another option is to move them to a higher area, out of the reach of a child. This is not the best option, however. By storing chemicals up high, you run the risk of them falling and their containers breaking open, creating even more of a hazard. But, if you can put them somewhere higher, where they are guaranteed to be safe, this could work for you.
No amount of child proofing, both DIY options and products you can buy (like latches), will make these cabinets safe enough for you to leave as is. You do not want to take the chance of your latch system failing and your child finding these chemicals. It is best to remove them from your child’s reach and eliminate the risk altogether.
You have moved those chemicals out of your child’s reach, making it safer for her to explore. However, you will still need to child proof your remaining cabinets to eliminate smashed fingers and pots and pans all over the floor. I like being creative and I’m all about saving money. So, whenever there is a DIY option for a household fix, I tend to try that one first, and there are a few options for child proofing your cabinets.
If your cabinets have handles, you may already have what you need to make them child proof. You can simply use a rubber band. Wherever you have two cabinets that are side by side, like under the sink, you can wrap the rubber band around both handles to keep them shut. This option makes it easy for you to remove when you need to access the cabinets’ contents and costs you little to no money.
If your cabinets do not have handles (or if they do but you don’t want a neater looking option) you can consider using magnets or Velcro strips. Simply place the magnet or Velcro to the inside of the cabinet door, using either the pre-installed adhesive or a screw (for your magnet) to keep the door stuck shut. Until your child is older and stronger, she should not be able to open the doors with these installed.
If you are not confident in your DIY skills, there are many great products on the market specifically for child proofing cabinets. The most popular would be latches. They come in various styles, both hidden and visible, and are easy for you to install and unlock when you need to open your cabinets.
The most popular choice amongst most parents are safety catches, like this one by Dreambaby. They are appropriately named, as their function is to “catch” the door from opening all the way if a child were to pull on it, but are easy to use by parents by simply pressing down on the hook piece to release and avoid the catch.
If you are handy with an electric drill, they can be relatively easy to install. The catch plate attaches to the interior of the cabinet and the hook is attached to the door, both pieces using two small screws. These are ideal for standalone cabinets, or ones that do not have handles.
There are also many options for side by side cabinets with handles. Dreambaby also has a sliding latch option (you can find similar styles in other brands as well). These are long plastic rings (U-shaped) with a sliding mechanism. Simply slip the plastic U around the handles and slide the lock until it is tight against the handles. These work best on D-shaped handles or knobs.
Side by Side Latch
Finally, there are the side by side cabinet locks, like these from Safety 1st. To install them, you simply loosen the cords with the interior lever, and fit them over your handles or knobs and tighten. Then, lock both sides together to keep your child from opening the cabinet. With the simple press of a button, the lock releases so you can access the cabinet’s contents. Since the cords are flexible and can be adjusted easily, these can be used on any type of handle or know your cabinets may have.
[easyazon_table attributes=”ListPrice” identifiers=”B003NSAY7U,B0014J0W8G,B00BOKKGY0″ locale=”US” orientation=”at” tag=”katherinerosmannew-20″ text=”Dreambaby Safety Catches, 12 Count|Dreambaby Sliding Locks, 3 Pack|Safety 1st 6 Pack Side by Side Cabinet Lock”]
Child proofing requires serious thought and attention, but, thanks to modern product advancements, it can be as easy as 1, 2, 3. Whether you prefer DIY or marketed products, there is an option that will work for you, making it both easy for you and safe for your child.
If you want more information – Check out our complete guide to child proofing here.