Are you worried about the safety of your baby once they start crawling and are capable of exploring? Do you wonder how to keep them out of the cabinets and away from potentially harmful substances?
I spent a lot of 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. They let me relax and enjoy my time with her more because I wasn’t terrified she’d get into something she shouldn’t.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Cabinet Lock Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
When Should I Install Cabinet Locks?
You obviously won’t need any until your baby is mobile. Once they start getting up in that crawling position, it won’t be long before they’re speed crawling across your floor with the enthusiasm and energy only a baby could muster.
Once they start crawling, you’d better have your cabinets locked. 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 they’re 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’ve accidentally ingested harmful substances. Children between the ages of 1 and 2 have the most non-fatal poisonings (1).
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 a 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 locks for them. They’re inexpensive to buy and they’re worth it just for the peace of mind they’ll bring you.
What Should I Look For?
When you’re trying to figure out which kind of cabinet locks you want to use, you’ll see a lot of cheap options 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’re 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’re simple to install and you can take them off pretty easily when you no longer need them. They’re 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’ll 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 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 of 2020
The first time your little one gets into the pots and pans cabinet, you’ll probably laugh and take a photo. The twentieth time… not so much. The right cabinet locks for your home will not only keep your little one away from anything dangerous, but they’ll also let you keep your sanity as they get more mobile. Here are some of our favorite products currently on the market.
1. Secure Home Baby Safety Locks
When you rent, the last thing you want to do is make your landlord mad at you by doing any drilling when they don'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.
Even though it will keep your baby out, you’ll still be able to get into the cabinets by just using one hand easily. And you’ll be able to close it just as quickly.
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 nothing is 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 with your decor instead of sticking out.
- Easy to install.
- The adhesive is robust.
- They’re 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.
2. Jambini 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 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 only take you around 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 right after childbirth while your baby is sleeping.
If you’re worried about how your locks will look, rest assured you’ll barely be able to see them. These blend in with your decor, and will fit any cabinet style you have.
- No drilling required.
- It doesn’t take long to install these.
- These 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.
3. The Good Stuff Child Safety Cabinet Latches
Safety latches are preferred by parents who just want something simple to put on their cabinets. Depending on which kind you get, they do a fair job at keeping your baby out of trouble. They’re also a great option 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’re simple to put in. They won’t require any tools for installation and you can have them attached 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, reach your finger inside the top of the cabinet, press down on the latch and you’ll be in.
These are ideal for moms who want safety for their baby without ruining the appearance of their cabinets. Since these go inside the cabinet, they won’t be visible. This could be important if you entertain often or if you’ve invested time and money into an expensive or upscale home.
- It’s easy to remove these when no longer needed.
- Super quick to put on a cabinet.
- The adhesive works well.
- You have to be 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.
4. Hurrise Magnetic Cabinet Lock
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. They're generally inexpensive and don’t take any tools to install.
These magnetic cabinet locks use adhesive instead of drilled holes, 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 use them.
You’ll get a set of 16 locks, and they come 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 parents who have trouble keeping track of 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 the adhesive not sticking long-term.
- You need to let them set for 24 hours before using them for best results.
5. Eco-Baby Child Safety Magnetic Locks
Many lock sets work only on cabinets or only on drawers. You shouldn’t have to buy multiple packs to childproof your home. The locks in this set work on both, saving you money and making installation easy.
Each set contains twelve magnetic locks and keys. The locks attach with an extremely strong adhesive tape that can be removed cleanly without damaging the cabinet or drawer. You also get extra adhesive tape strips if you find you need to move a lock to a different location.
Other features include a plastic template to help align and install each lock properly and twelve butterfly stickers. The stickers go on the outside of the drawer or cabinet so you know exactly where to play your magnetic key. We especially love this feature if you’ve got babysitters or family members constantly in your home who need access to your stuff.
- Locks work on both cabinets and drawers.
- Includes a butterfly sticker to help match the key to the lock.
- Large kit helps childproof your whole house.
- The adhesive is strong enough to keep babies out, but may be pulled off by a very strong toddler.
6. Safety 1st Adhesive Magnetic Child Safety Lock System
While some of the clunkier slide or pull cord locks might work really well, there's no avoiding the fact that they usually don't look great, especially if you have a lot of cabinets. Look for something that's invisible if you want to maintain the appearance of your home or kitchen.
Want to keep your cabinets looking clean and stylish, even with a baby lock system? This kit from Safety 1st makes each lock completely invisible from the outside. It works by using a combination of magnets and strong adhesive.
Use the yellow plastic template to perfectly align each lock on the inside of the cabinet. Peel off the backing and automatically stick it to the surface without any tools or installation instructions. To operate, simply press the magnetic key to the outside of the door and pull open.
We also love that you can disengage the lock when you don’t need it. It’s perfect for when you have guests over or are working consistently in an area without your children. You can turn the lock back on with the simple press of a button.
Each set comes with eight locks and two key fobs. While most moms don’t need any to install these locks, screws are included in case you need them.
- Completely invisible from the outside.
- Easy to install and includes a plastic template.
- Can be disengaged when you don’t need them.
- They aren’t very versatile, working only on cabinet doors.
7. Wonder Kid Safety Locks
It can drive you crazy to try and hunt down separate locks and closures for all the different cabinets in your home, not to mention all the other little booby traps you'd like to babyproof. Flexible, reusable straps are the most versatile option in this case.
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 one that goes 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 locks you don’t need.
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 also don’t require any drills or special tools, since they use an 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.
- You may have issues with some of the straps breaking.
8. Enovoe Magnetic Cabinet Locks
You’ll be in and out of your kitchen cabinets constantly so you’ll want to find something that gives you quick and easy access to all the stuff you need. 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 if you have a lot of cabinets to protect and who don’t relish the idea of only having one key in case you’re too sleep deprived to remember where you put it.
The locks are only visible on the inside of your cabinet so there’s nothing on the outside 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 the locks, there’ll be no way for them to open them.
These thankfully don’t require any drilling — just use the adhesive strips to get them to stick to the cabinet.
- They won’t allow kids to open the cabinet even a crack, so there’s no way they’ll smash their fingers.
- You can’t even tell there’s a lock installed.
- No drilling required.
- Some parents complained the keys break if dropped.
- The adhesive is not especially strong.
9. Secure Home Sliding Cabinet Locks
If you have cabinets with long, thin handles, a sliding lock can slip between them and keep the doors firmly shut. They're a great choice if you have handles of a few different kinds in your home, since they're somewhat adjustable.
If you think sliding locks are the way to go for your cabinet, you might want to check out this kind. They’re smooth all the way around so your baby won’t cut or scrape their tender skin while exploring the house.
They won’t work for every type of cabinet, though. You’ll only be able to use them on smaller knobs and thinner handles.
You can slide them 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’re easy for adults to slide on and off.
- They come in three colors to match most color schemes.
- Sturdy enough to hold up to a toddler’s tugging.
- They’ll attract the attention of your child, and can be a bit of an eyesore.
- They don’t work on all handle types.
10. Kiscords Baby Safety Cabinet Locks
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 are a good choice. You won’t have to drill anything 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 toddler 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. This is great if you worry about your child pulling on a cord, letting go and getting whipped in the face with 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’ll 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.
The Bottom Line
We think Secure Home safety locks are the best cabinet locks for babyproofing because they can be used on so many other surfaces and not just cabinets.
You’ll be able to babyproof just about anything you can imagine. For busy moms who always seem to have their hands full, it’s nice that these can be opened using only one hand.
While it may seem like babyproofing is something you’ll have plenty of time to do, those first few months pass quickly, so try tackle this chore as soon as you can!
Moms out there, what tricks have you learned to keep your curious little ones out of the cabinets? Let us know in the comments below.