As soon as your little one starts to crawl, it’s time to baby proof!
Cabinets and drawers can hold objects that are dangerous to your little one, so it is important to keep them closed and protected.
Whether you are renting or you just want to avoid drilling into your cabinets and drawers, today there are plenty of options to childproof without drilling holes.
In a hurry or just plain curious?
The Importance of Childproofing Cabinets and Drawers
While you may think to yourself, “I don’t plan on letting baby into the kitchen or office,” it is still important to childproof any cabinets or drawers that could hold dangerous objects or that a curious toddler could get into and make a mess.
You don’t want grandma’s china broken or your important documents scattered!
Once babies start crawling, you will be surprised at how quickly they can move, often without your knowledge.
As they begin to pull up they will try to climb on everything, and curious toddlers and preschoolers can let themselves into rooms or other areas of the house like near the fireplace that are normally considered off-limits and search drawers for interesting and exciting treasures.
Whether it’s the knife drawer, the cleaning cabinet, or just your office supplies, choose from these drill-free methods to keep your child safe and messes at bay.
5 Best Options for No-Drill Cabinet Locks
There are five basic kinds of cabinet and drawer locks that don’t require drilling. Magnetic, adhesive, cord, sliding, and spring latch locks.
Each one has its own advantages depending on the context in which they are used, so read on to find the best one in each category.
Magnetic Cabinet Locks
Magnetic cabinet locks are invisible from the outside of the cabinet, so they’re a great no-show option. Nobody will ever know you have locks on your cabinets…until they try to open them!
These Safety 1st adhesive magnetic locks are easy to install and require no drilling unless your cabinets are made of particle board.
To install, just peel the sticker off of the adhesive and use the yellow template to ensure proper alignment. No measuring or marking required.
When the cabinets are closed, the lock latches shut. To open them, a magnetic “key” triggers the latch.
They also have a switch to disengage the lock so if you’re cooking need to open and close doors frequently, if the baby is with the other parent you can disengage the lock so you won’t need to use the key again and again each time you reach for something. A set of 8 comes with 2 keys.
Adhesive Cabinet Locks
Adhesive cabinet locks have two adhesive pads that attach to each side of the cabinet, connected by a flexible band.
While these locks are not invisible to the naked eye like the magnetic locks, the advantage of these is that because of the flexible band, there is a wide variety of places you can install them.
The door of the refrigerator, the trash can, or the toilet lid are just a few places that little ones like to investigate that you would probably prefer they stay away from, and these locks will do the trick.
When my first child was one, he was obsessed with playing in the toilet. Every time he would disappear, I knew exactly where to find him: splashing in the toilet.
One day, I had been listening to music on my iPhone when suddenly, it went silent. We searched and searched but the phone was nowhere to be found.
A few months later, after we moved, we received an email from the new tenants. The toilet was having problems. After some investigation, they found my iPhone trapped in the base of the toilet.
The little munchkin had dropped my phone in the toilet! If only I had closed the toilet with these multi-purpose adhesive locks from Skyla Homes!
These adhesive locks come in a pack of 8 or 12 and are easy to install and easy for an adult to open, but difficult for little fingers. Take it from me: use them on everything that opens!
Cord Cabinet Locks
Cord cabinet locks are a simple, low-cost solution for knobs (though not handles) and cabinet materials that are difficult for adhesives to stick to, such as particle board.
Just wrap the cord around the cabinet knobs and tighten the cord with the cord stop, much like the cords you might find in the hood of a raincoat.
Cord cabinet locks are a very low-cost solution and can easily be moved from one cabinet to another, or removed and taken with you if you move to a new home. They’re perfect for those who may be in transition, or just looking for a solution that won’t break the bank.
You can also take them with you to visit grandma’s house, a hotel, or anywhere else you may travel to without concern for installation or removal.
As these are one of the cheaper options, there are many styles available that are very basic and therefore, breakable.
The Kiscords Safety Straps, however, uses high-quality materials and the length of the cord can be adjusted, so there is no risk of the child becoming tangled in the hanging cord or pieces breaking loose for a little one to choke on.
Kiscords is a company created by a mom looking for better safety solutions. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a 30-day money back warranty if you are unsatisfied with their product.
But what if your cabinets have handles instead of knobs?
These straps are made specifically for handles, rather than knobs.
They are easy to remove with just one hand (but difficult for small children) and like the previously mentioned straps, can be used without any installation, making them perfect for renters, grandparents’ visits, or travel.
Sliding Cabinet Locks
Sliding locks like these are another low cost, yet effective method of keeping cabinets shut.
They may work best on handles, though they could also work on some knobs depending on the diameter.
Sliding locks have a U-shaped piece of plastic that loops through the handles (or over the narrow part of the knobs) and a lock at the end that easily slides on and off of the U.
Like the cord locks, they require no installation and are convenient for renters, travel, or visits to the grandparents. They work for handles up to 5 inches apart, so be sure to measure before you order.
These sliding locks from Jool Baby are affordable and simple to use, and the family-owned company has a mission to educate parents in their local community about child safety and even donates free products to lower-income homes.
Whenever possible, I prefer to purchase products from family-owned companies who are using their resources to better their communities. Jool Baby is a company you can feel good about supporting.
Spring Latch Locks
Ideal for drawers as well as cabinets, spring latch locks are invisible from the outside of the cabinet and attach using a strong adhesive. The latch comes in two parts: the hook and the optional grip.
The hook is spring loaded, so in order to open the drawer or cabinet you simply pull it open a bit and then push on the hook.
It’s very simple to use and there is no need for a key or fidgeting with a fastener, however smart little children may be able to figure it out with time.
These Suniry latch locks attach with adhesive but have optional drill holes in case you decide to drill instead.
Overall, the reviews are quite positive but it is important to be sure that the adhesive will stick firmly to your surface, and clean and dry the surface before using.
How Many Cabinet Locks Do I Need?
Well, that depends on your house, but a good answer is: you need one cabinet lock or drawer lock for any cabinet or drawer that your child can reach or will be able to reach…so how many drawers and cabinets do you have?
If your child is still very small, begin with only those cabinets and drawers that are within immediate reach, and make sure you like them.
Once you find a style that you like, add them to the drawers and cabinets that are out of reach.
Just because your toddler can’t reach them now, doesn’t mean they won’t be able to in the future.
Children are incredibly smart and observant, and they will find a way to get what they want. I’ll never forget when I walked into the kitchen to find my preschooler balanced carefully on the cabinet shelves because he was trying to reach the hidden snacks on the very top shelf.
What a sneaky little child! Start with what you need at this very moment, and then go from there. You may find that different surfaces work better with different latches.
DIY Childproof Cabinets and Drawers
If you’re in a bind (or just being frugal) and need a quick solution, there are several DIY methods using supplies you probably already have in your home.
Most of these are temporary solutions, but if you’ve got an important drawer your need to stay shut or you’re traveling to a hotel or staying with family, they’ll get the job done until your order of cabinet locks arrives in the mail.
Most of you probably have a drawer of rubber bands with your office supplies, or you can use a strong hair tie.
Wrap the rubber band or hair tie around the knobs, double looping or making a figure-8 if necessary.
It’s a quick, cheap solution for little ones but be warned: it won’t be long before a smart toddler figures out how to remove them!
If there are certain cabinets that you never open except for very special occasions, such as your grandmother’s china cabinet, you can use a zip-tie to keep the door shut tight.
No child (or adult, for that matter) can open a zip-tie without a knife or scissors, so you can be sure that granny’s precious china will be safe from your little one’s pretend tea parties.
Just make sure you have a few extra on hand in case you need to cut it off in order to access it for a special occasion.
Yardstick or Dowel Rod
If your vertical drawers have handles, run a yardstick or dowel rod through the handles and your child will be unable to open them without removing the entire yardstick.
Of course, this is not a very aesthetically pleasing solution to the problem but it will keep the drawers shut.
Ribbon or Rope
Simply use a ribbon, small rope, or cotton cord to tie a bow around the knobs or drawers that you want to keep shut.
Be sure to double-knot it so that your child cannot easily pull it off. It could even be a cute addition if you use a decorative ribbon!
The downside to this method is that you will need to use both hands to tie or untie the ribbon/rope, so it is not ideal for quickly opening and closing cabinets and drawers while cooking in the kitchen.
If you’ve got older children, then you most likely have a drawer somewhere full of craft supplies.
Grab a handful of pipe cleaners and wrap them around cabinet handles in the same way you would use a cord lock.
It’s quick, easily removable, and if wrapped tightly, most kids under the age of 2 will be unable to open it.
Regardless of the method you choose, it is important to protect your child from dangerous household objects by keeping cabinets and drawers latched.
A child’s curiosity and creativity will lead them to explore new places that you never thought would be appealing to them, so play it safe and buy latches and locks for all of your cabinets until your children are old enough to use discernment.