Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Think of the Children: Childproofing your cabinets

by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

When they're first born, there's no real danger in them making it to the kitchen to rifle through your pots and pans. There will come a day, though, when you catch your little one doing crib calisthenics -- i.e., little sit- and push-ups -- and that means crawling is right around the corner. Take steps to childproof your kitchen cabinets and drawers before toddling commences.

Childproofing your cabinets

Cabinets and drawers tend to be full of things that hurt your child, break, or both. Whether its shards of glass from a shattered glass pan or chlorine bleach, it's important to keep your kids out of arms' reach and, thereby, out of harm's way. Here are some popular options for childproofing cabinetry:

  • Easy way out: The easiest way to childproof cabinets is to remove anything that could potentially be dangerous. It's not the best option because kids can make almost anything dangerous and not too many people have the spare storage space. It's a good idea to remember this option for areas you can't lock up, of course.
  • Knob and handle grabbers: These locks are external and completely temporary. They typically employ some sort of zip-tie like technology, securing one handle or knob to another to prevent opening. For folks with handle-free cabinets, these don't work at all. For everyone else, they work only slightly better. It's pretty easy to find videos of kids opening these eyesores faster than they can pull up their favorite games on your smartphone.
  • The classic flexible hook: You might remember these from your own childhood. They mount internally, which keeps things looking nice, and utilize a little plastic hook that you, but not your child, can compress -- that, at least, is the idea. The reality is that these little hooks tend to run the gamut from impossible to open without hurting your finger and way too easy to open. They're cheap, and they do the job for a little while, until your little problem solver learns the trick. They will also work in drawers, which gives them an advantage over the handle-grabbing locks.
  • Magical magnetic locks: They won't be magical to you, but your kids will be completely stymied by these internally mounted locks. From the outside, your cabinets look normal, but they don't budge when tugged on. To unlock and open drawers and cabinets, you need the special magnetic key that pulls the pin and opens the lock. They can usually be set to 'unlocked' with a little switch for when you're cooking or around to keep a watchful eye. There are a few different versions of these. Most require some drilling for installation.

Whatever you decide to use to keep those kiddies from hurting themselves, be sure to read the reviews and look up videos of kids disarming them (or failing at the attempt).

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