Childproofing Cabinets, Doors, and Drawers

Archived Q&A and Reviews

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Childproofing old-fashioned lockable doorknob

April 2011

I have older doorknobs in the house that have the kind of locks that do not automatically open when one closes the door after manipulating the lock. I live in fear that my daughter will lock herself into her room someday. Is there a solution, either a product or a home fix, that can render the locks nonfunctional but keep the doorknob functional? -worried mom

We have the same kind of locks and I ended up covering the door handle with truckloads of duct tape to keep the lock button unlocked. It's going to be a royal pain for me to figure out how to get off someday so I don't worry that the kids will get it off themselves. It's worked for us for 3 years without coming off. Duct Tape is the solution for everything!
We just used packing tape and covered the end of the knob. My daughter did lock it once by accident and we were able to open it with a screw driver from the outside but that was enough for me to cover it up. Haven't had a problem since and that was more than a year ago. don't get locked in
We also have old locksets in our house. We childproofed them by stuffing paper into the door jamb so that, when the door is closed, the lock cannot be turned into the door jamb. It's worked well for the past couple of months (we have a 2-year old that likes to play with the door locks). The problem with this, of course, is that anyone else using the bathroom (e.g. adults, guests) cannot lock the door without first removing the paper. Ken
I recently replaced several doorknobs in our house after my daughter got locked into a room when an old doorknob broke. It's very easy to replace a doorknob...they cost about $10-$30 at Home Depot or Ace Hardware, and you can put in a new doorknob that does NOT have a lock. My kids' rooms don't have locks on them; only the master bedroom does. If you're doubtful, watch this video (and others) on Youtube. All you need is a screwdriver. heidilee

How to childproof a swinging door

Aug 2009

We have a swinging door in our kitchen that we need to secure. It swings both inward and outward. Does anyone have suggestions on how to keep it shut and how to prevent smashed fingers? i tried a foam ''Finger Guard'' from KidCo, but that didn't work - it popped off the door. Thanks! Mary

Why don't you just remove the door? You could put a Japanese style split curtain or a gauzy curtain in the doorway if you like. Alternately you can attach a eye bolt to the wall and hook the door to it to keep it open (like the old screen door latches). Lindsey
Are you worried about a child being hit (or fingers pinched) by a swinging door or do you want to be able to secure the door and keep the child on side or the other? If the former, then the advice in the last newsletter about removing it (at least temporarily until child is older) works. An eyehook would secure, but then you always have to be on that side to open the door. We had exactly this situation in a Berkeley bungalow, although our wish (pre-daughter) was to keep the cats in the kitchen at night and not let them push through the swinging door to the dining room and living room. A friend who did some kitchen work for us installed what I guess I would call a turnbolt -- like a dead bolt but no key. From either side of the door, you could give a little twist on the semi-circular handle/lever and a lightweight bolt snicked into the corresponding hole in the door jamb. When you wanted the door open, turn the other way and it swung freely. I would think a decent handyman could do it. Norm
There is a much easier solution. The childproofer also recommended the hook and eye to me, but I found this at Giggle. No installation, no holes, nada. And it works! It's a door positioner that keeps the door open, closed or in between. vicky
I have a heavy swinging door between our kitchen and dining room and had the same worry with my toddler. I just rolled up a towel and hung it lengthwise over the top of the door, pushing it as far toward the wall as possible. This keeps the door in an open position - the rolled towel is thick enough to prevent the door from closing, and it's simple to remove it as needed, so you can close the door or swing it over to the other side. It doesn't look beautiful but it works!

Child-Safe Door Stops

April 2003

I am trying to find child-safe doorstops. We bought some years ago, but now can't remember where! They are white, one-piece, and have no springs or rubber ends. Anybody know where I can find those these days? I just pulled off all the funky old doorstops in our new house and need to replace them pronto with the safe ones! Thanks. Lori carries them -- a 3 pack for $3.99: I just did my house, too. Lisa
We bought simple plastic doorstops to replace our springed ones at Lowe's, the giant hardware store. They were in the door section. You can probably find them at Target or a similar store, but they will be with the home improvement section, not the childproofing babyproofed parent
We bought some at Rockridge Kids last year. I don't remember the brand, but it was one of the major ones that makes childproofing stuff. Sarah Lee
While I don't know where to find the doorstops that you referenced, I do know that all of the childproofing literature suggests pulling off the rubber tips and then re-adhering them with Krazy Glue. We did that and it works just fine. Our daughter is intrigued by the doorstops in the house, but is never able to remove the tips. Just a suggestion
You can order these from One Step Ahead ( I have seen them at Target (from time to time) and Right Start too. Living in a child-proofed house.

toddler-proof cabinet/drawer latches

September 2001

My 21 month-old has finally figured out how to open the cabinets by sticking her little arm inside and pressing down on the child-proof latch (I think we have Safety 1st). Can anyone suggest a toddler-proof drawer and cabinet latch or lock? thanks! Angela

Try doubling up your present latches, he may be able to open one, but two? The child safety consultant I used (Safe and Sound Children, LOVED THEM) liked the magnetic latches, but I lose things, like the little magnetic key you stick on the side of your refrigerator. Ryan
Check out They list various safety products, including a number of latches. They rate them on a safety scale as well, which is nice. I found that the latches with springs were the worst as they were so simple to open. Brksie
I know of some magnetic latch kits that are sold through the Right Start Store or online at These safety locks allow for the door or drawer to close all the way and not open at all. They open by this magnetic knob that comes with the kit, which you can put on your fridge above your toddler's reach. They are more expensive than the traditional latches sold, but I think well worth it. You avoid having little fingers caught in the openings that other latches allow for. Hope this helps. Yanneth
I have heard great things about Tot-Loks. They work with a magnetic key. The challenge would be not losing the key! I also suggest you use those small color-coding dots on the outside of the cupboard so you can place the key easily and quickly. Jennie