Childhood is a period of growth and discovery. Children are often like little scientists, discovering the world around them for the first time.
Unfortunately, as with every adventure, discovering new things can be quite a health hazard, like learning about hot things or sharp things or how a fall could hurt.
That is why, as parents, we want to fend off the dangerous stuff until they reach a certain age that they can be deemed capable enough to know what is potentially dangerous.
That age usually does not come soon enough since yearlings who seem to have a good command of their bodies are often the bold ones who like tinkering with things they shouldn’t touch and accessing places where they shouldn’t be.
That is why most parents of young children employ the aid of child locks to keep their little ones safe around the house.
Below are a few top-selling child locks, all are Amazon Top 5 Bestsellers:
1) Munchkin Xtraguard Dual Action Multi Use Latches (2 pack)
Pros: The flexible strap on this lock allows it to seamlessly latch onto corners and otherwise awkward spaces that hard locks may find impossible to hold. It is also a lot trickier for young kids to operate since it requires a dual button operation.
Cons: It comes in a standard shape and appearance. A minor downside to this is that it may not look as appealing when paired with appliances or fixtures that come in other designs or colors. The straps and squares are also not adjustable and they don’t offer ones with longer straps or differently sized squares so if you have large pieces or tight spaces and corners to secure, it may come as a challenge.
2) VMAISI 12 Pack Children Proof Cupboard Baby Latches
Pros: These pieces do not affect the look of your home since they are installed on the inside.
Another great thing about these magnetic locks is that their locking mechanism can easily be switched on and off. If the kids are out of the house, you don’t need to deal with going through child locks throughout your home for the rest of the day.
Cons: Some parents find installation a bit challenging with this lock. Others simply find that although it fits most cabinets, there are a few that it won’t work with.
Another catch with this clever device is that since it disengages with the use of magnets, you tend to depend on the two magnets that come with it. If you happen to lose them though, any strong magnet supposedly works for it.
3) Adoric Sliding Cabinet Locks, U Shaped Baby Safety Locks, Childproof Cabinet Latch for Kitchen Bathroom Storage Doors, Knobs and Handles (4-Pack, White)
Pros: Its no-fuss installment allows you to hook it into knobs and handles in a matter of seconds. It can cover a wide variety of cabinets and even two-door refrigerators with its adjustable length.
Cons: For kids who are extra active and extra strong, these might not hold up much, according to some parents.
It might not be a good choice if you are looking for something to use over the long term.
4) Door Lever Lock (2 Pack) Child Proof Doors & Handles 3M Adhesive – Child Safety By Tuut
Pros: This child lock can fit most lever-type door handles and therefore is a great option for keeping kids from opening doors which they should not, like accesses to cleaning cupboards, basements, and even the front entrance.
Cons: If you have bigger and smarter kids, it can be pretty easy to figure this one out eventually.
You need to be pretty stealthy to keep the kids from watching and eventually learning how to operate this lock.
5) DOOR MONKEY Door Lock & Pinch Guard – Safety Door Lock For Kids
Pros: Whether you’re vacationing or just leaving the kids at grandma’s house, you can protect those little fingers from being pinched with this easy to install adjustable and handy door lock.
It basically locks the door in a partially-cracked position so there is no worry of doors being shut on tiny hands.
Cons: Although it works wonderfully once installed, beware that it won’t fit every type of door or door frame. Sometimes the gap left would be too wide or it won’t latch on at all and there’s no working around it since it is not adjustable.
Safety Tips when using Child Locks
- Consider the things or appliances that need a child lock. Toilets, dishwasher, drawers and cabinets, oven, refrigerator, windows, doors, and even purses or bags need protection. Basically, anything that should be off-limits to your child that may cause them harm or contain hazardous material can be child-locked.
- Choose the appropriate lock for each appliance. There is no perfect lock that fits anything and everything. For example, locks that are fitted onto knobs and levers may not work for appliances that don’t have handles. This is especially true for child locks that you purchase online. It is best to first ask the manufacturer regarding the compatibility of their locks to specific door types, whether you are considering appliance doors, cabinet doors, or actual house doors.
- Correct installation. As with any device, locks won’t work well, if they do work at all when installed incorrectly. It may even pose a health hazard for your child and the entire family if you use it inappropriately. Make sure to follow instructions down to the last dot and on top, it all, test the item on several occasions in different situations.
- Maintenance. Also, make sure to check on your locks regularly to make sure that they are still intact and functioning correctly. It is a possibility that young children may yank on or force a door open too frequently or too forcefully to the point that the child lock becomes dislodged or malpositioned. If so, see if you can simply put it back into its proper position or if you may need a new device.
- The importance of quality adhesives. Most of today’s child locks are no longer the types that you need to screw or nail into furniture or walls. Many come with their own adhesives and all you need to do is peel and stick. It is therefore important that the adhesives (whether they come with the device or are separately purchased) are of good quality, can hold a fair amount of weight, and can stand up to repeated tugging, pushing, and banging.
Cheap Child Lock Alternatives
There may be instances wherein an existing child lock is damaged and you need a temporary fix before replacing it.
It could also be that your family is trying to cut down on expenses and the quantity of locks you can purchase is fewer than the things you actually need to secure at home.
Or maybe you simply are a DIY person and want to try out creative and innovative ways on how to child-proof your home without heading out to specialty baby stores or hardware.
Below are some great materials you can find in your home which you can easily transform into safety devices to keep your little ones from harm:
- A good ol’ hair tie. It is flexible and elastic, so, therefore, it’s adjustable. you can fit it through knobs, handles, hooks, you name it! All you need is some analytical thinking and a sturdy stretchy band to keep those little munchkins out.
- Daddy’s old baller wristbands. This is another semi-elastic object that can wrap around a lot of stuff. Another alternative is basically any bracelet you own, except maybe those made with gold or crusted with gems.
- A donut-shaped or hollow toy. It could be a teether, a hoop, or one of those stackable rings that come.in rainbow colors. It might not be as adjustable as the first two mentioned, but if it fits the knob perfectly, then why go out of your way to buy another lock which does the exact same work?
- Pool noodle door guard. This one is a great preventive measure against pinched fingers. Simply cut a pool noodle lengthwise so that it forms a C rather than an O and clamp it onto the side of your door. This will prevent the door from entirely closing since the cushioning noodle is thick enough to block it.
- DIY book fences. You can keep books in place by tying ropes around your bookcase. Better yet, you can also strap your entire bookcase onto somewhere sturdy so that it won’t topple over. The same can be said for freestanding drawers or other furniture or appliances at risk of falling over. Be forewarned though, it may take a lot of creativity or some work for this strategy to look pretty.
- Fireplace-sized activity board. There must be something about fireplaces that are simply too alluring for young children. Of course, we wouldn’t want them in there so it typically gets blocked off. But if you don’t have spare cash for a fancy gate, why not block it off with a cute and useful activity board that the kids can enjoy learning with. This way, you can keep the fireplace out of sight while keeping the kids occupied.
- Tulle and netting. There are certain spaces that are made with materials that have the perfect-sized holes for curious little fingers. Vents, fans, and even some drains are primary culprits for stuck phalanges and hand injuries. The good news it’s nothing that a good net can’t fix. You can simply wrap and sew or tape nets around finger-attracting holes to create a simple yet effective repelling net. Just make sure that the holes on your net are small enough to actually keep your baby’s fingers from entering.
- Good old tape. If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve come across numerous situations that called for quite a bit of ingenuity. And it is most likely that many of those circumstances involved a bit of tape. A very obvious example of tape use is to seal off power sockets that are within a baby’s reach. Its purpose doesn’t stop there though. You’ll be surprised at the full host of things that you can use tape with when it comes to baby-proofing.
- (BONUS) Child Proof Stove Knobs. This isn’t actually a DIY child lock, but it is a clever one to have if your kids get access to the kitchen and can reach up to those stove knobs. It is even useful up to that age where they are independent enough to look for food in the kitchen but not safe enough to be cooking on their own.
At this stage of their development, always keep in mind that it is a good thing that they are curious about the world and want to know more about their surroundings.
It is a reassuring sign that your baby is growing and developing as expected and you should encourage it while providing a safe and conducive environment for them.
Overall, the experience of babyproofing your home should not be a stressful one. You needn’t fret if your little one is starting to show some independence and confidence with their little explorations.
All you have to do is to identify what needs to be locked, find the right fitting lock for it, install it correctly and maintain it properly so you can at least enjoy a little bit of peace of mind when looking after your little wanderer.