How to Baby Proof Drawers: Keep Your Little Ones Safe

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
June 27, 2014

It never ceases to amaze me how much I take cabinets, drawers and other storage areas for granted. Without them, my house would be a mess.

The unusual thing is that some babies couldn't care less about drawers. To them whatever is hidden away simply does not compete with their awesome toys. You are probably reading this guide because the last two sentences do not describe your baby at all.

Before we take a look at how to baby proof your drawers, let us take a look at why you need to.

The dangers of drawers to your child (and you)

baby wearing diaper check the drawer
Image Source: Reshot

It is really funny. Before young children enter your life, you would never have considered drawers to be dangerous. Once you do start to care for kids, you will begin to realize just how dangerous they actually are.

Let us take a look at the hazards to your child that drawers can pose.

  • Drawers can hide dangerous objectors such as sharp knives and poisonous substances.
  • The entire contents of a drawer can be strewn across a room in glee because your child finds it fun.
  • Drawers can be closed on your child's fingers, resulting in serious injury.
  • Drawers can be used as a ladder to reach higher areas (seriously, children are devious little geniuses).

I am also going to add that drawers can be slammed continuously. While not a direct danger to the child,  this can wear on a parent's sanity. And trust me, there is nothing more dangerous than an insane parent!

Baby proofing drawers

baby attempt to open the drawer
Image Source: Flickr

There are many different types of drawer locks available and not all are created equal. When shopping around be sure to read reviews that other parents have left on products. By doing this you will quickly learn that while some baby proofing products sound amazing in theory, they just don't hold up in practice.

Besides reading reviews, here are some other things to be wary of when looking to childproof your house.

  • Watch for drawer locks that allow the drawer to open up a crack. These can still squash curious little fingers or allow the drawer to be pried open with a narrow tool.
  • Avoid magnetic locks with weak magnets. Cheaper locks have cheaper magnets, they will potentially drive you crazy if you cannot easily open drawers to access the contents.
  • Some locks will need to be hardware mounted. These are no good for people who rent as the landlord may prohibit you from modifying permanent fixtures, such as drawers.
  • If you find the lock difficult to use, try another. You use your drawers every day. If you even have to fiddle around with the lock for five seconds each time you open a drawer you will eventually get frustrated. Save your sanity!

Right, we have that out of the way, let us look at the different products that are available to you to baby proof your drawers.

Baby proofing drawers with magnetic locks

baby wearing jumper tried to open drawer
Image Source: Flickr

The most popular way to baby proof drawers is to use magnetic locks. The locking mechanism is hardware mounted inside the drawer. The mechanism will not unlock until you open it with a magnetic key.

Magnetic locks will generally come in a pack consisting of one magnetic key and numerous locks. This means that you can install the locks across a range drawers (even cabinets) that you want to prevent your child from entering.

When you want to open the locked drawer, simply hold the key in front of the lock with one hand and pull the drawer with the other. You can even deactivate the locks temporarily for those occasions when you need to constantly open and close drawers, such as when you are cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

Below is the most popular and highly recommended magnetic lock kit containing one key and eight locks.

Magnetic Drawer Lock

Colors: As pictured

Features:

  • Easy install.
  • Fits most drawers.
  • It can be disabled when needed.

Even though the majority of magnetic locks come with their own wood screws, many parents recommend pre-drilling the screw holes with a small drill bit. This is because most wood used in cabinets and drawers is quite thin and can easily splinter. Just be careful and don't drill all the way through!

You can see an excited father demonstrating the magnetic drawer locks in action in the video below. Even though he has installed them on cabinets rather than drawers, they operate the same.

Magnetic drawer locks are by far the most efficient way to baby proof the drawers in your house.

Baby proofing drawers with a tension rod

If you have multiple drawers in a column then you can actually baby proof them with a shower rod. Before you rush to the bathroom and yank down your shower rod and start waving it menacingly at your drawers you need to consider your drawer setup.

The shower tension rod will only be able to baby proof columns of drawers that are over 26 inches high. You will also require your benchtop to overhang the drawers to provide a surface the rod can press firmly against.

So your drawers fit the bill? Good. Now all you need to do is press your tension rod against the floor and expand it so that it wedges into place between the floor and the bench top. Your child should now be unable to open any drawer due to the tension rod pressing hard up against them.

Now if your drawers have handles rather than knobs, you can run the tension rood through them like in this photo.

The tension rod is a great way to keep your little baby out of drawers without having to install permanent hardware.

Now when choosing a tension rod I thoroughly recommend you choose one which is stainless steel. Stainless steel prevents the growth of bacteria, perfect for if you are trying to baby proof in the kitchen. It is amazing how grubby objects can get with a baby in the house.

Be sure to measure the distance between the floor and bench top. When choosing a tension rod, look for the minimum and maximum distances to which it will expand and make sure they fall into your measurements.

Tension Rod

Colors: As pictured

Features:

  • Stainless Steel.
  • Non-slip foot.
  • Adjustable length.

Baby-proof your drawers DIY style

If you are sick of buying baby proofing products or just feeling frugal, I also have some handy tips to baby proof drawers using products found around your home.

Baby-proof your drawers using a long object

If your benchtop does not hang over the edge of your column of drawers then a tension rod will be no use to you. If they have handles rather than knobs then you can implement a slightly modified version of the tension rod method.

This method relies on your child not being able to muster up the strength to open up all of the drawers at once.

You will need a long object such as a broom handle, rod, yardstick or something similar to these items.

  1. Place your long object through all the handles.
  2. If your object sticks past the benchtop too far simply cut it to length so that it sits flush.
  3. With the broom handle in place, you will not be able to open a single drawer without opening all the others until the broom handle is removed.

Yep, that simple. Just be mindful that some parents report that their children have figured out how to push the rod out the top of the handles. Other parents swear by this method. Monitor your child. If they figure it out, quickly swap to a different childproofing solution.

Baby proofing drawers with velcro

Sometimes you will find that your drawers are not nicely laid out in a column. While I strongly recommend child proof magnetic drawer locks, some of you may not wish to pay for a child-proof solution and that is perfectly fine.

You can also baby proof your drawers with the help of velcro. Check out the guide on the pudge and biggie blog for a step by step guide on baby proofing with velcro. You can find the guide here.

How to baby proof bedroom dresser drawers.

The problem with dresser drawers is that more often than not they will use knobs to open them rather than handles. Unless you use the Childproof magnetic drawer locks (Which are the best solution in my opinion) then you will not have many baby proofing options available. You could try the velcro method I mentioned above for a friendly frugal solution.

Your little one can also use dresser drawers as a ladder. The handles make perfect footholds to help little feet climb.

Dressers were never designed to be used in such a manner and the unexpected addition of weight to the front of the dresser may cause it to topple over on top of your child, resulting in serious injury.

You can prevent this by removing all popular toys and interesting objects from the top of the dresser. This will discourage your child from considering to climb the dresser drawers to begin with.

For peace of mind, you can anchor your dresser to the wall using furniture anchors. Anchors will keep your dresser stable, even if climbed, preventing your dresser from falling onto your baby.

Furniture Anchor

Colors: As pictured

Features:

  • Safe.
  • Easy to install.
  • Durable.

And that brings me to the end of yet another baby proofing guide. If you have any tips or tricks you could add on how to baby proof drawers I would love to hear them.

Featured Image Source: Flickr

Related Resources
Kitchen Safety
Baby proofing dresser drawers discussion.
Keeping little fingers out of drawers discussion.

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