Why should I use cabinet and drawer locks?

If you have small children in your house drawer and cabinet locks are a must. Your household and garage cabinets may contain medicines, kitchen and bathroom cleaners, laundry detergent, outdoor cleaning supplies, and lawn and garden chemicals that can cause serious injury or even death if swallowed by a child. Sharp objects such as knives, kitchen scissors or garden shears can cause serious injuries if played with by a child.

Where should I install cabinet and drawer locks?

Lock all cabinets and drawers located in the:

  • Garage
  • Garden shed
  • Laundry room
  • Kitchen
  • Bathrooms

Be sure to lock all cabinets and drawers that are at a height level a toddler or young child could reach.

What are some cabinet and drawer lock options?

Some cabinet lock options include:

  • Cabinet and drawer latches: A latch will automatically lock the cabinet or drawer when closed. It attaches easily to the inside of most drawers and cabinets with screws. Pressing a tab releases the cabinet or drawer from the catch. However, if a child watches a parent unlock the cabinet or drawer enough times, he or she may figure out how to work this simple device.
  • Cabinet flex locks: A flex lock attaches to cabinet handles or knobs to keep the drawer or cabinet door closed. It has a flexible tab and triple touch release feature for added protection.
  • Magnetic locks: A magnetic lock keeps the cabinet door or drawer completely shut for full protection and requires a key for unlocking. This lock is more difficult to install and you'll need to keep an extra key.

These locks and other styles are available at any store with a baby section, hardware and home improvement stores, and online. Lock prices generally start as low as $3 and range up to about $20.

Why should I use window locks?

Window locks prevent a child from crawling out or falling out a window.

Where should I install window locks?

Window locks should be placed on all windows in:

  • Bedrooms
  • Kitchen
  • Family room/living room
  • Any other windows that you feel are necessary to lock

What are some window lock options?

  • Window guards: A window guard has horizontal bars and side post that are placed inside the window frame. The bars can withstand up to 150 pounds of pressure. In case of emergency, the bars can be easily and quickly removed by pressing any of four quick-release buttons. Cost begins at about $50 for a single window treatment.
  • Window wedges: Wedges are like a "door stopper" for windows. It can be positioned anywhere along the edge of the top window of a double-hung window or sliding window, allowing the window to be only opened to that height or width. This locking device requires no tools for installation, using a simple adhesive to mount. Cost begins at about $3 for a 2 pack.
  • Super Stoppers: This device is a 1.25- by 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 begins at about $7 for a single stopper.
  • Retractable blind cord shorteners: This product keeps cords from blinds and drapes out of the reach of children, preventing strangulation.

Window locking devices are available at any store with a baby section, at hardware and home improvement stores, and online. Keep in mind 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.
  • Open windows from the top if able.
  • 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 can 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, board it up if at all possible.
References

© Copyright 1995-2014 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.

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: 12/22/2016...#9038