by maipham

April 30, 2021

how to lock drawers from toddlers

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There is one thing we want and not want our kids to be: curious.

We want them to be curious and excited about the world, so that they can explore new things and new opportunities. But then we are worried that they can get hurt.

Let's take the most common thing as an example: drawers.

Almost all families have many drawers in our houses. And what do you store it them? Keys, locks, cards, forks, bowls, plates, and all bunch of things. Just imagine your kid plays with a fork and poke something. OMG, I cannot even say it out loud because I'm so scared.

Here's the must-do action: lock your drawers.

Ok so how do you do it? How to lock drawers from toddlers so that you don't have to be so paranoid about some possible dangerous situations can occur?

Let's find out.

How to lock drawers from toddlers: the dangers of drawers

how to lock drawers from toddlers

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it's time to baby-proof your home as soon as your child walks on her own. Cleaning products, personal care products, garage items (like insecticide or antifreeze), medicines or supplements, small or sharp objects (like buttons or scissors), alcohol, or trash should all be locked up.

At first glance, you might believe that the only danger in a drawer is what's inside. But, drawers and the dressers that hold them pose a slew of dangers.

  • Drawers may conceal dangerous objectors like poisonous substances and sharp knives.
  • The whole contents of a drawer can be spread in a room because your child is enjoying it.
  • Drawers can close on your child's fingers, injuring them severely. And believe me when I say that if there's a way for them to hurt themselves, they'll find it.
  • It's also not uncommon for a quick-witted toddler to use an open drawer as a stepping stone to the counter. Seriously, children are little geniuses.

In the last decade, “tip-over” injuries have increased by 31 percent, with over 12,000 emergency visits reported, according to Safe Kids - a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing injuries to children. Again, knowing how to lock drawers from toddlers is essential.

Some things to be wary of when looking to lock drawers from toddlers

  • Keep an eye out for drawer locks that allow the drawer to open slightly. These can still squash curious little fingers or allow a narrow tool to pry the drawer open.
  • Magnetic locks with weak magnets should be avoided. Cheaper locks have weaker magnets, which can drive you insane if you can't open drawers easily to access the contents.
  • Some locks will require hardware installation. These aren't ideal for renters. Because the landlord may forbid you from changing permanent fixtures like drawers.
  • Try a different lock if you're having trouble with this one. You use your drawers daily. You'll get frustrated if you have to fiddle with the lock for over five seconds every time you open a drawer.

5 best options for locks drawers

How can you lock drawers from toddlers? Here are five different ideas for you to consider, including a closer examination of the many products and options available.

Drawer locks are divided into five categories. Locks with magnetic, adhesive, cord, sliding, and spring latches are available. Each one has its own set of benefits depending on the context in which it is used. So keep reading to find out which one is the best in each category.

Magnetic Drawer Locks

The most popular way to lock drawers from toddlers is to use magnetic locks. The locking mechanism is a piece of hardware that is attached to the inside of the drawer. The mechanism will not unlock unless you use a magnetic key to open it. 

Magnetic locks are usually sold in a set that includes one magnetic key and several locks. This means you can use the locks to secure a variety of drawers that you don't want your child to access.

Simply hold the key in front of the lock with one hand and pull the drawer with the other to open the locked drawer. You can even temporarily disable the locks when you need to open and close drawers frequently, such as when you're in the kitchen preparing a meal. 

Magnetic drawer locks are a great no-show option. Because they are invisible from the outside of the drawer. Nobody will ever notice your drawers are locked… until they try to open them.

The product we highly recommend is Safety 1st Magnetic Locking System (1 Key and 8 Locks). It is the most popular and contains one key plus eight locks.

  • Keep drawers closed: This will give parents peace of mind while their children are exploring the house.
  • Toddler tested: Locks have been proven to be stronger than the competition in both home and mechanical pull force lab testing.
  • Invisible from the outside: it's installed inside your drawers, hidden from children and visitors.

Even though most magnetic locks include wood screws, many parents recommend pre-drilling the screw holes with a small drill bit. This is because most of the wood used in drawers is quite thin and prone to splintering. Be cautious not to drill all the way through!

Adhesive Drawers Locks

The product we recommend for this kind of lock is Munchkin Xtraguard Dual Action Multi Use Latches. 

This lock has a flexible strap that allows it to latch around any corner. When not in use, the latches release and swivel out of the way. When you don't need them in action, you can detach them. It is our top choice for simple baby proofing. They're inexpensive, versatile, and completely toddler-proof.

Adhesive drawer locks comprise two adhesive pads that attach to each side of the drawer and are connected by a flexible band. While these locks are not as invisible to the naked eye as magnetic locks, they have the advantage of being able to be installed in a wide range of locations due to their flexible band. 

The refrigerator door, the trash can, and the toilet lid are just a few examples of places that small children like to investigate that you would probably prefer they stay away from, and these locks will do the trick. These adhesive locks come in packs of 8 or 12 and are simple to install and open for adults, but difficult for small fingers.

Cord Drawer Locks

For knobs (but not handles) and drawer materials that are difficult to adhere to with adhesives, such as particle boards, cord drawer locks are a simple, low-cost solution. Simply wrap the cord around the drawer knobs and secure it with the cord stop, much like the cords found in a raincoat's hood. 

Cord drawer locks are a low-cost option that can be easily moved from one drawer to another or removed and taken with you when you move. They're ideal for those who are in transition or simply looking for a cost-effective solution.

Kiscords Baby Safety Cabinet Locks for Handles is such a product. 

The Kiscords Safety Straps are made of high-quality materials, and the cord length can be adjusted. So there's no risk of the child becoming tangled in the hanging cord or pieces breaking loose and choking on them. What if, instead of knobs, your drawers have handles? Instead of knobs, these straps are made specifically for handles. 

These will fit any handle that is between 1-5/8′′ and 7′′ apart (with closed ends). It opens easily and can be re-secured by hanging it in place. They are simple to remove with one hand (though more difficult for small children) and, like the previously mentioned straps, can be used without installation, making them ideal for renters, grandparents' visits, and travel.

Kiscords is a company founded by a mother in search of better safety solutions. If you are dissatisfied with their product, they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Sliding Drawer Locks

Sliding locks, such as these, are another low-cost but effective way to keep drawers closed. They may work best on handles, but depending on the diameter, they may also work on knobs. Sliding locks comprise a U-shaped piece of plastic that loops through the handles (or over the narrow part of the knobs) and a lock that slides on and off of the U. 

They, like cord locks, do not need installation and are ideal for renters, travelers, and grandparents' visits. They work for handles that are up to 5 inches apart, so measure before ordering.

So, if you want a traditional sliding lock,  look into the Dreambaby Sliding Locks. Dreambaby Sliding Locks is the product you can try.

This lock features a long U-shaped latch that is compatible with mushroom and D-shaped knobs and handles. 

This drawer lock requires no tools or adhesive to install or remove. This lock does not leave any marks on the drawer. To unlock, you must press two buttons which is difficult for children but easy for most adults. These sliding locks are ideal for side-by-side knobs and handle on drawers, refrigerators, cupboards, and other similar items.

Spring Latch Locks

Spring latch locks are ideal for drawers because they are invisible from the outside of the drawer and are attached with a strong adhesive. The latch is composed of two components: the hook and an optional grip. 

Because the hook is spring-loaded, you simply pull the drawer open a little and then push on the hook to open it. It's very simple to use and doesn't need a key or fidgeting with a fastener, but smart little children may be able to figure it out with time.

KidCo Spring Action Cabinet Lock is a perfect product for all kinds of drawer locks.

These KidCo locks, like magnetic locks, have an "off" mode. This could also be useful for parents who don't want to spend a lot of money on baby proofing. The advantage of these over magnetic locks is that no key is required; anyone with adequate finger strength can open them. 

These are fairly simple to install, but you must pre-drill four holes for each lock, which takes some time. Many people have complained that the included screws are of poor quality, so be careful not to strip them. But they are inexpensive and effective. Best of all, there is no need for a key!

How to lock drawers from toddlers: the DIY style

If you're tired of buying baby-proofing products or simply want to save money, I've got some handy tips for baby-proofing drawers with items you probably already have around the house. 

Most of these are only temporary fixes. But if you have an important drawer that needs to stay closed, or if you're traveling to a hotel or staying with family, they'll suffice until your order of drawer locks arrives in the mail.

Rubber Bands

Rubber bands, or a strong hair tie, are likely to be found in most people's office supply drawers. If necessary, double loop or make a figure-8 with the rubber band or hair tie around the knobs. It's a simple and inexpensive solution for little ones.

Zip Ties

You can use a zip-tie to keep the door shut tight on drawers that you never open except for very special occasions, such as your grandmother's china drawer. No child (or adult, for that matter) can open a zip-tie without the use of a knife or scissors. So you can rest assured that your child's pretend tea parties will not endanger Granny's fine china.

Yardstick or Dowel Rod

Run a yardstick or dowel rod through the handles of your vertical drawers, and your child will be unable to open them without removing the entire yardstick. Of course, this isn't the most attractive solution, but it will keep the drawers closed.

Ribbon or Rope

Simply tie a bow around the knobs or drawers you want to keep closed with a ribbon, small rope, or cotton cord. Make sure it's double-knotted so your child can't easily pull it off. If you use a decorative ribbon, it could even be a cute addition. The disadvantage of this method is that you must use both hands to tie or untie the ribbon/rope, which makes it inconvenient to quickly opening and closing drawers while cooking in the kitchen.

Pipe Cleaners

If you have older children, you most likely have a drawer full of craft supplies. Wrap a handful of pipe cleaners around drawer handles in the same way you would a cord lock. It's quick and easy to remove, and most children under the age of two will be unable to open it if wrapped tightly.

Other childproofing tips

Now that you’re armed with some essential knowledge on how to lock drawers from toddlers, it’s time to take your skills to the next level.

  • Keep an eye out:  If you're worried about your child learning how to open drawers, don't open them where he or she can see them. Everything you do is copied by the kids!
  • Use fun distractions: In a locked area, put something fun and safe, like a basket of colorful kitchen towels. Your child may be less likely to focus on breaking through your security systems if you give them something to do.
  • Talk to them: As your child grows older, make sure you talk to your child about why certain things are off-limits. It's an excellent time to talk about boundaries and how they can take charge of their safety.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I remove the adhesive residue? 

The adhesive in most baby-proof drawer locks leaves no residue. However, depending on how long the lock has been in place, you will almost certainly be dealing with residue. A solvent is the best way to remove it. Many homeowners swear by a squirt of WD-40, hand sanitizer, or Goo Gone to remove stubborn stains. When you're finished, don't forget to wipe the solvent off your drawer!

Will baby-proof locks keep nosy pets like cats out? 

Yes, indeed! Many four-legged family members must be shielded from their inquisitiveness. Whether it's a trash can that needs to be secured or a toilet lid that needs to be kept down, most baby-proofing products also keep animals out.

What would I do if I lost my magnetic key?

Purchasing a replacement key is the simplest option. If you can't find one, you might have to buy another magnetic baby proofing system. But, some parents have used fridge magnets to get the job done!

I don’t have the time or money to do babyproof things. What should I put first? 

Every penny matters to parents. When it comes to babyproofing, pay special attention to anything that is at your baby's eye level, especially if it is something that could cause them long-term harm, such as electrical outlets or drawers full of cleaning supplies.

Should I hire a professional to install babyproof? 

Self-installation is fine for most homes and most baby-proofing products. Some companies will come in and do it for you, ensuring that no safety precautions are overlooked, but most parents prefer to do it themselves. Of course, you'll need to keep an eye on your child regardless of who installs your products. No one can replace you!


To be safe, buy latches and locks for all your drawers until your children are old enough to use discernment. Curiosity and creativity in children will lead them to discover new places you never imagined would be appealing to them. Regardless of how to lock drawers from toddlers you choose, it is important to protect your toddler from dangerous household objects by holding drawers secured.

About the author 

Mai Pham

Mai Pham discovered her passion for writing a few years ago and she never stop thinking about it ever since. She finally took the leap and created Live a Worthy Life to brag about her smart ass (mainly just for fun). Enjoyed the fun writing brings, now with her new interest in everything-baby-related, she created Mommy Instinct, to tell mamas that it's ok that they mess up, that they don't know what the hell they are doing, and that it's okay to sit back and relax for a while.

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