Better Safe Than Sorry -- The Best Cabinet Locks to Protect Your Baby (2018 Reviews)
Are you worried about the safety of your baby once it starts crawling and is capable of exploring? Do you wonder how to keep it out of the cabinets and away from potentially harmful substances?
I spent a lot of my time during my first baby’s early months trying to anticipate what her next move would be. I was always trying to think ahead to troubleshoot any possible dangers. That’s what moms do.
One of the best things I did before my baby could crawl was invest in cabinet locks for my house. It let me relax and enjoy my time with my baby more because I wasn’t terrified she’d get into something she shouldn’t.
When Should I Start Using Cabinet Locks?
You obviously won’t need any locks until your baby is mobile. Once they start getting up in that crawling position, it won’t be long before they are speed crawling across your floor with all the enthusiasm of an energetic and curious baby.
Once they start crawling, you had better have those locks on your cabinets. If you’re anything like me, you have all sorts of things in your cabinets that your baby shouldn’t get ahold of, like cleaning products and medicines.
The Sooner the Better:
If your baby is already crawling and you haven’t installed locks yet, it’s never too late. Every year, about 800,000 children go to the emergency room because they have accidentally ingested harmful substances. Children between the ages of 1 and 2 are the group who has the most non-fatal poisonings (source).
How Many Cabinet Locks Do I Need?
Before you start ordering, walk around every room in your house and count all your cabinets.
Even if you just store bowls and plastic dishes in that cabinet, if you don’t lock it, be prepared to have to pick up those items off your floor every day until your baby learns to walk and can reach new targets. I feel like I spent an hour out of my day when my babies were little just cleaning up after their messes.
In addition to the mess, your baby won’t understand the art of closing a cabinet door gently. They’ll slam it with glee just to hear the loud noise it makes. When they do that, the noise can drive you crazy and they risk slamming their fingers in the door, which is even worse than having all that commotion.
So once you’ve got a tally of all the cabinets at your house or apartment, think about any daycare provider you’ll be using if you go back to work. Ask them what they intend to do about their cabinets, especially the ones that store stuff which could hurt your baby.
If they’re agreeable to the idea, get a few extra cabinet locks for them. The locks are inexpensive to buy and they are worth it just for the relief from worrying they’ll bring you.
What Should I Look for in a Cabinet Lock?
When you’re trying to figure out which kind of cabinet locks you want to use, you’ll see a lot of cheap varieties out there. But cheaper isn’t always better. You need to think about what features you want in these locks or you might end up replacing them before long.
There are different types of cabinet locks you can use. We’ll look at the most common kinds.
- Magnetic: Magnetic locks have some great perks — they are easy to use and your baby won’t be able to open them. You’ll easily be able to open them because they come with a key. But they do have a couple of drawbacks. They sometimes require the installation of hardware on your cabinets. It’s not difficult to do, but if you’re a renter you might have to check with your landlord first.
- Adhesive mount locks: If you are looking for a solution that won’t have you violating your apartment’s rental agreement, you could opt for adhesive mount cabinet locks. They are simple to install and you can take them off pretty easily when you no longer need them. They are fairly inexpensive too, which makes them a great choice for budget-conscious parents. But beware, you could get some brands that don’t stick well.
- Pull cord locks: This kind of cabinet lock only works if you have two side-by-side knobs, and round knobs work the best. With this kind, a cord goes around the two knobs on the outside and uses a button to tighten and release the cords. Anyone can figure out how to use these, but they will stump your baby for a while. They might not be a great solution for preschool children though.
- Spring release locks: These aren’t ideal because older kids can easily bypass this kind of lock, but they do work well for babies and most toddlers. The locks go on the inside of cabinets. To open them, you’ll have to nudge the door open and slide your fingers in there at the top of the door. You’ll press the latch down and be able to open the door. Keep in mind, if you go with this type, you may need to add new locks when your kids are a bit older.
- Cabinet locks that slide: Some of these types of locks work, but you really have to make sure you’re buying a quality brand. You also have to be certain the cabinet handles you have work with this kind of lock.
The Best Cabinet Locks for Babyproofing of 2018
Now that you know when to start using them, how many you’ll need, and the different kinds —
Here are our top picks in 2018:
Best No Drill Cabinet Locks
When you rent, the last thing you want to do is make your landlord mad at you by doing any drilling when he doesn’t allow it. To keep your baby safe, you’ll have to find a non-permanent solution to keep your cabinets closed and their contents tucked inside.
This multi-purpose lock can be used on your cabinets, appliances, trash cans, windows, drawers, and even toilets to keep your child out.
Even though it will keep your baby out, you’ll still be able to easily get into the cabinets by just using one hand. And you’ll be able to close it just as easily.
This lock uses adhesive to stick to your cabinet — there’s no need for drilling or complicated installation.
Just wipe down your cabinet with a damp rag and dry it thoroughly to make sure there’s nothing preventing the adhesive from sticking. After your baby is grown up and isn’t drawn to all the dangers lurking in your cabinets, you can take off the adhesive without ruining your cabinets.
The locks come in multiple colors so they’ll blend into the decor of your apartment instead of sticking out.
- Easy to install.
- The adhesive is really strong.
- They are great at keeping curious children out.
- These aren’t reusable once they’re placed, in case you end up moving.
- Some parents said the plastic on these strips didn’t last as long as they would have liked them to.
Best Magnetic Cabinet Locks
If you own your home and you can drill to your heart’s content, magnetic locks are a great solution. They’re strong and it doesn’t matter if you have the world’s most talented lock picker for a child, they aren’t getting past this one.
If you love the power of magnetic locks but don’t want the mess or work of drilling for them, here is a type of magnetic lock that doesn’t require any tools. This lock works by using 3M adhesive, which is strong enough to withstand the tugs of a curious baby. You’ll open the cabinets by using a key.
Every lock you put on should take you under three minutes, so you’ll have time to do it whether you opt to install all the locks in your ninth month of pregnancy or after the birth while your child is peacefully resting.
If you’re worried about how your lock will appear, you won’t even be able to tell there is a lock in sight. These blend in with your cabinets. And they’ll be able to fit any cabinet style you have.
- No drilling required.
- It doesn’t take long to install these.
- They are tough locks.
- It doesn’t work as well with thick cabinets.
- It would be nice if it came with a back-up key in case you lose the one they give you.
If you think sliding locks are the way to go for your cabinet, you might want to check out this kind. They are smooth all the way around so your baby won’t cut or scrape its tender skin while exploring your house.
They won’t work for every type of cabinet. You’ll only be able to use them on smaller knobs and thinner handles.
You’ll be able to slide these locks open just by using one hand. And if you have grandparents watching your child in your home, they’ll be able to open these too, even if they don’t have much arm strength or struggle with arthritis in their hands.
Because these just slide over the handles, there won’t be any drill marks or sticky residue when you decide to stop using them. They won’t impact the surface of your cabinets at all.
- They are easy for adults to slide on and off.
- They come in three colors.
- These are sturdy enough to hold up to a toddler’s tugging.
- They will attract the attention of your child.
- They don’t work on all handle types.
Best Adhesive Cabinet Locks
When you’re looking for a temporary solution, try adhesive cabinet locks. After your baby outgrows them, all you have to do is peel off the adhesive. These locks are generally inexpensive and don’t take any tools to install.
These magnetic cabinet locks use adhesive instead of drills, which is nice for apartment dwellers or those who aren’t that handy with tools. You won’t have to make permanent changes to your cabinets to make these.
You’ll get a set of 16 locks with this one, and it comes with three keys. That way, if you lose one, you won’t go into full panic mode that you’ll never be able to open any of your cabinets again. That’s important for tired moms and dads who may have trouble keeping track of those keys, especially if they’re both using them and someone forgets to put it back in the designated spot.
These locks can be placed on the inside of the cabinet so no one will be able to tell they’re there. It won’t affect the look of your cabinets at all.
- For so many locks, this is an affordable choice.
- It’s nice that it comes with more than one key.
- Easy to install.
- Some parents had trouble with adhesive not sticking long-term.
- You need to let them set up for 24 hours before using them for best results.
Best Cabinet Locks for Knobs
When you have knobs on your cabinets, you have a lot of options for locks, including pull cord locks. Virtually any kind of lock will work on the knobs, so you just have to decide which type you want — more permanent ones like magnetic locks or temporary ones like pull cords or adhesives.
When you need in and out of your cabinets frequently, these locks are a good choice. You won’t have to drill anything with these locks or use adhesive you’ll later have to peel off. It won’t ruin the finish on your cabinets and it comes in two different colors to match your cupboards.
Parents can open these locks with one hand, but babies and toddlers won’t be able to figure out how they work. It comes with a double lock design so even the strongest and most dedicated toddlers won’t be able to remove it. The knots on the cord will prevent your kid from taking off any of the tiny parts.
This is made out of a nylon cord, which won’t stretch — that’s nice for moms who worry about their child pulling on a cord, letting go and getting whipped in the face by it.
- The cord is short enough that it isn’t a choking hazard.
- These come with directions and have a YouTube video for installation.
- They won’t damage your cabinets.
- They will only work on cabinets that have knobs which are right next to each other.
- Although the locks will keep your kids out, the cords will lure your kids in — they’ll want to check them out.
While many cabinet locks give you two choices of colors, this type goes a little further. It gives you four different colors so you have a better chance at finding a color that will go with your decor in your house.
You can also get these in packs of two or six. It’s nice that they offer a pack with smaller quantities so you aren’t stuck paying for a bunch of extra cabinet locks you don’t need when you only want one or two instead.
While these will stump small children, adults can open them with only one hand, which is great for busy moms who frequently have their babies in their arms.
These don’t require any drills or special tools. They use adhesive to stick to your cabinets.
- These have a good selection of colors.
- You only need one hand to open them.
- They don’t require any drilling.
- Some parents said the adhesive isn’t that strong.
- Some parents had issues with some of the straps breaking.
Best Kitchen Cabinet Locks
You’ll be in and out of your kitchen cabinets constantly so you’ll want to find something that gives you easy access to all the stuff you’ll need at your disposal. You don’t want to have to wrestle those locks open — they’re meant to keep your child out, not you. Your best bet may be a magnetic lock that comes with a key.
This set comes with 10 locks and two keys, which is nice for moms who have a lot of cabinets to protect and who don’t relish the idea of only having one key in case they are too sleep deprived to remember where they put it.
The locks are only visible on the inside of your cabinet so there will be nothing on the outside of the cabinet to draw in your curious child. That means they’ll have no additional reason to check out your cabinets. And since your child won’t be able to reach these locks, there will be no way for them to open them.
These magnetic locks don’t require any drilling — you’ll just use adhesive strips to get them to stick to the cabinet.
- These locks won’t allow kids to even open the cabinet a crack so there is no way they’ll smash their fingers.
- You can’t even tell there is a lock installed.
- No drilling required.
- Some parents complained the keys break if dropped.
- Some parents didn’t think the adhesive was strong enough.
Best Cabinet Safety Latches
Safety latches are preferred by parents who want something simple to put on their cabinets. Depending upon which kind you get, they do a fair job at keeping your baby out of the cabinets. They’re also a great pick to give to caregivers or grandparents if your baby spends much time there.
These will work with most cabinets and the best part for busy parents is that they are simple to put in. They won’t require any tools for installation and you can have them attached to your cabinets in seconds.
All you have to do is peel off the plastic covering the adhesive strip, stick it on your clean cabinet and you’re done. To open the cabinet once it’s on, you’ll reach your finger inside the top of the cabinet, press down on the latch and you’ll be in.
For moms who want safety for their baby without ruining the looks of their cabinets, since these locks go inside the cabinet, they won’t be visible to anyone visiting your home. That can be important to moms who entertain a lot or those who have invested a lot of money into an expensive or upscale home.
- It’s easy to remove these when no longer needed.
- Super quick to put these on a cabinet.
- The adhesive works well.
- You have to be really careful to get the right placement when installing these or they won’t be as secure as you want.
- These are single use so you’ll need to replace them if you move.
You’ll get 10 locks and two keys in this set and it will work for cabinets and drawers. If you aren’t the handy type of mom, don’t worry. You won’t need to whip out a drill to install these because they use adhesive instead.
Your home will still look flawless to visitors because there won’t be any signs of these locks on the outside of your cabinets. Plus, there will be nothing to draw in a curious kid — they won’t see a lock so there won’t be any intriguing challenges for them to tackle.
If you get tired of always having to use a key when your baby is sleeping, you can use this one with an unlocked function which restores its normal open and close operation.
- No drilling required.
- You can open these with one hand.
- It comes with two keys in case you lose one.
- You need to put them on and wait 24 hours before first using them to give adhesive time to set.
- Doesn’t work well on cabinets that are thicker than a half-inch thick or so.
This is a sliding lock that goes on the handles outside your cabinets. Depending upon how many cabinets you have to safeguard, you can get these in 4-packs, 8-packs and 12-packs.
While some sliding locks can be opened by using just one hand, this one does require two hands. So if you always seem to be carrying your baby around and you often don’t have two free hands, this might not be the right lock for you. Some moms might not mind using two hands because they may feel secure knowing if it takes them that much work to open it, their baby won’t be able to do it.
While it won’t work on every cabinet, it can fit a wide variety of them. It will cover cabinets that have handles or knobs that are up to 5 inches apart.
- The cabinets will stay shut enough that your baby won’t smash its fingers in the doors.
- They won’t ruin the finish on your cabinets.
- They are inexpensive.
- You need two hands to take these off.
- They won’t work with all cabinets.
My Favorite Is …
Secure Home safety locks are my favorite cabinet locks for baby proofing because they can be used on so many other surfaces that just cabinets.
You’ll be able to baby proof just about anything you can imagine. For busy moms who always seem to have their hands full, it’s nice that these locks can be opened using only one hand.
While it may seem like baby proofing is something you’ll have plenty of time to do, those first few months with your baby pass quickly so you should tackle this chore soon.