Why should I use cabinet locks?

Cabinet locks are important to use if you have small children in your house. Many cabinets in your home contain medicines, household cleaning supplies, outside cleaning supplies and lawn and garden chemicals, or sharp objects that could cause serious injuries or even death if ingested or played with by a child.

Typically, which cabinets or drawers are most in need of cabinet locks?

Lock all cabinets that are located:

  • In the garage
  • In the shed
  • In the laundry room
  • In the kitchen
  • In the bathrooms
  • At lower height levels that would be accessible to a toddler or young child

What are some cabinet lock options that I could purchase?

Some cabinet lock options include:

  • Cabinet and drawer latches. This product automatically locks the cabinet or drawer when closed, consists of a plastic lock that attaches easily to the inside of most drawers and cabinets with screws, and opens by pressing down a tab to release the cabinet or drawer from the catch. The downside to this locking device is that if a child watches a parent unlock the cabinet or drawer enough times, he or she may figure out how to overcome this simple locking device.
  • Cabinet flex locks. This type of lock attaches to cabinet handles or knobs to keep the drawer or cabinet door closed and consists of a flexible tab and triple touch release feature for added protection.
  • Magnetic locks. This type of lock keeps the cabinet door or drawer completely shut for full protection and requires a magnetic key for unlocking. This type of lock is more difficult to install and you’ll need to keep an extra key in case you lose the original.

These locks and other styles can be purchased at any store that has a baby section, at hardware and home improvement stores, and over the Internet. Lock prices generally start as low as $3 and range up to about $20.

Why should I use window locks?

It is important to use window locks in a house to prevent a child from crawling out or falling out a window.

Typically, on which windows should window locks be installed?

Window locks should be placed on all windows in:

  • The bedrooms
  • The kitchen
  • The family room/living room
  • Any other windows that you feel are necessary to lock

What are some window lock options that I could purchase?

  • Window guards. This lock option consists of horizontal bars and side post that are placed inside the window frame. The bars, which can withstand up to 150 pounds of pressure, can be easily and quickly removed by pressing any of four quick release buttons in case there is an emergency. Cost of this type of product begins at about $48 for a single window treatment.
  • Window wedges. These devices are like a "door stopper" only for windows. The window wedge can be positioned anywhere along the window edge of the top window of a double hung window or sliding window, which then allows the window to be opened to that height or width. This locking device requires no tools for installation; it uses a simple adhesive to mount. Cost for this type of product begins at about $3 for a 2 pack.
  • Super stoppers. –This device consists of a 1.25 x 2 inch three-tiered wedge that is positioned inside of a large flexible suction cup. The suction cup is pressed in place on the top window of a double hung window or sliding window, allowing the bottom window or other sliding window to be opened only to the point of the super stopper. Cost of this type of product begins at about $7 for a single stopper.
  • Retractable blind cord shorteners. This product keeps the cords from blinds, drapes, etc, out of the reach of children, preventing strangulation.

Window locking devices are can be purchased at any store that has a baby section, at hardware and home improvement stores, and over the Internet. It is important to keep in mind that these window-locking devices may not fully protect your home from intruders.

Other window safety tips:

  • Make sure all windows cannot be opened wide enough for a child to crawl through.
  • If you use key-based window locks, keep the key nearby in case you cannot escape any other way.
  • Do not place furniture in front of a window. Children can climb up onto the furniture and then crawl through the window.
  • Window screens are not a substitute for window locks. Children have been known to crawl through and fall through windows with screens in place.
  • Make sure all your glass windows are safe for your child to be around. If you cannot repair a broken or damaged window right away, consider boarding it up.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 12/20/2013...#9038