Just like almost everything else in the house, the refrigerator can pose a danger to your child.
While not every child is attracted to the fridge, for some it is like light to a moth. If you are here I assume that the fridge is an issue for your little one and you are looking for ways to baby proof it. Well then, let us get started with the guide.
Restrict your child’s access to the fridge
If your child gets into the fridge unattended, you can be sure of two things. An upset belly and a mess are bound to follow.
If your baby has become infatuated with exploring the fridge then there is no other way around it, you are going to have to come up with a solution to restrict access.
The first thing you can do is restrict your child’s access to the kitchen or wherever you keep your fridge. A good baby gate won’t just keep your child away from the fridge but also keep him safe from every other danger in the kitchen (or whatever room you keep your fridge in).
If barricading up the entrance is too inconvenient, then you will have to look for an alternative solution to keeping your child safe around the fridge.
Baby proof the refrigerator door
The most obvious danger to your child is the contents of the fridge. You don’t want your child getting sick from eating random foods or making a mess all over your floor.
So how do you make sure your fridge door stays shut? With a childproof locking device of course.
Over my many years as a full-time nanny to various kids, I have experimented with a range of fridge looks and just about all of them have their downsides.
Let us have a look at the different fridge locks:
Button Strap Fridge Lock
- Parents simply press to release
- Disables for temporary non use
- Lock release fridge latch
The Promise: Easily hold Standard style fridge doors closed with a simple strap. Releases at the push of a button and latch automatically when the fridge closes.
In Practice: Many parents report success stories while others, myself included, found that the glue gave up too easily and that the latch was a little too brittle. Try it at your own risk.
Padlockable Fridge Lock
- SUPER STRONG! HIGH SECURITY! This high quality WHITE refrigerator lock will protect your medicines, alcohol, or even...
- PERMANENT AND NO DRILLING REQUIRED! Uses the strongest 3M VHB tape available - When properly installed, the plates are...
- THIS IS MUCH MORE THAN JUST A CHILD PROOF LOCK! - The strength of this refrigerator lock can handle situations from...
The Promise: Hold Standard style fridge doors closed with the help of a padlock. Durable and very difficult for a child to break
In Practice: Stands up to what it promises, the sturdiest purpose-made fridge lock I have come across, I am yet to meet a child who can beat it. The downside is that it does require a padlock to hold shut and it is on the pricey side.
Clip Strap Fridge Lock
- Keep your baby safe with parent units products
- Durable quality
- Easy to use
The Promise: Easily hold french style fridge doors closed with a simple strap
In Practice: The strap type of fridge lock not only pops off easily but requires two hands to use, which is quite annoying when you are holding whatever you just took out of the fridge in your other hand. Children can open the fridge with ease.
So which fridge door lock is best?
Although there are baby products purposed made to childproof the refrigerator, I do not believe they stand up to the good old multipurpose strap. I rave about these for baby proofing cabinets and toilet seats and once again, they really shine at baby proofing your refrigerator.
Cheap, effective and easy to use, so many parents swear by them and with good reason, they just work. Just be sure to mount the strap out of your child’s reach and you are in business!
The cabinet straps even work on french door style fridges. Simply mount the strap over the split between two doors and presto, child-proofed refrigerator.
- Secures cabinets, drawers, appliances, toilet seats, and more
- Requires dual button operation to release, release and rotate when not in use
- Flexible strap allows latching around corners
Available Colors: As pictured
- Push to release button
- Flexible straps
- Easy to install.
IMPORTANT! Before you apply any adhesive mounted latch, be sure to clean the surface of the fridge where you are going to mount it with alcohol. This will ensure adhesive forms a firm grip and you will have the most success possible with this style of lock.
The door is not the only part of the fridge that you may need to childproof. Let us have a look at the other areas of the fridge you will need to keep an eye on.
Baby-proof fridge water dispenser
If your fridge has a water dispenser or an ice dispenser (or both) then you will definitely want to find a way to childproof it. At the push of a button, ice or waterfalls to the floor. Entertain for a child, not so fun for the parent who has to clean it up.
The first thing to do is pull out your fridge owner manual and determine whether your fridge has a locking feature on the water dispenser, many do.
If you can’t remember where you placed that manual then do not despair, Look for the fridge model and serial number (this may be located on a plate or sticker on either the side or rear of the fridge).
With this information handy, enter the model into a search engine such as Google as many manufacturers now keep copies of instruction manuals online.
If your fridge has no locking mechanism for the dispenser then don’t despair. Simply head down to your local hardware store and buy a length of the magnetic sheet.
Cut the sheet to a size where it will completely cover the water dispenser recess. Be mindful to cut it large enough so all edges can attach to the metal surface of the fridge door.
Baby proof the magnets
If your fridge is anything like mine then it doubles as a community noticeboard/family photo album, covered top to bottom.
Many parents forget that if it is in reach, it goes in the mouth or is strewn across the floor.
Take a look at your fridge. See those magnets and notes that have made their way to the bottom of the fridge? You’re going to have to move them up.
Magnets are just the right size to cause a choking hazard. While your child is young and at the “I’m going to put this in my mouth” stage, move all magnets and notes high up out of reach of a small child.
Also, remove any magnets that are starting to lose their stick. Yes that Disney Land magnet may be a great souvenir but if it falls off the fridge then it may double as a souvenir commemorating your child’s first trip to the emergency room.
Why not take the time to spring clean the fridge face, removing all old invitations and notes that no longer needed? Baby proofing and spring cleaning? Now that is efficient.
Clean under your fridge
The gap between the base of your fridge and the floor is generally an afterthought. Not only can you not easily see under the fridge but cleaning between this gap can be a downright chore.
If you are like me and tend to avoid cleaning under the fridge then try this out. Place your head on the ground six inches from the base of the fridge. Not a pretty sight, is it?
The view you see here is similar to that of a small child. While the view is similar, the thoughts are different.
While you are probably thinking something along the lines of “Yuck, I had no idea it is that dirty” your little child is probably thinking “I’m gonna put that gunk in my mouth”.
Obviously, we don’t want your child putting all that grime in his mouth let alone getting it on his fingers.
So, I have some bad news. You are going to have to clean under the fridge and quite regularly too. Sucks, doesn’t it? You came here to baby proof and here’s me telling you to clean.
And with that, you have reached the end of my guide to baby-proofing fridges. Do you have any tips you could share?
Featured Image Source: Flickr