The No-Nonsense Guide to Baby-Proofing Drawers & Cupboards

Once your baby starts becoming a ninja toddler and getting into everything he or she can possibly get their hands on, securing your drawers and cabinets is a must.

From pinched fingers to sharp knives, there’s a whole bunch of ways your little ninja can hurt themselves, and trust me—if there’s a way to hurt themselves, they’ll find a way to do it.

It’s also not unheard of for the agile toddler to use an open drawer as a tool to climb onto the counter, and then the real fun begins.

That’s not even mentioning the annoying aspect of your child throwing the contents of the drawer all over the place, or slamming them repeatedly.

Trust me, it’s no fun.

First things first: get the dangerous items out.

Before you even think of installing a lock, get the dangerous items out of the drawers and cupboards first.

You have to think like a ninja toddler—there are a lot of things in your drawers that can be dangerous.

Think of things like:

  • Sharp knives or cutlery
  • Small objects that can be a choking hazard
  • Lighters
  • Medications
  • Batteries
  • Plastic bags
  • Cleaning products, detergents and pods
  • Electrical appliances with long cords

There are lots of baby-proofing products out there, but most are bad.

There are a bunch of different products out there meant for securing your drawers and cupboards.

The fact is that most of them aren’t really a great solution.

For example, latch locks like these require drilling into the cupboard. And these popular ones look ugly and leave sticky adhesive all over the outside of the drawers after you remove them.

So let’s take a look at the good solutions to baby-proofing.

Magnetic latches—the best method for drawers & cabinets.

These latches are probably going to be the best way for you to secure your drawers and cabinets.

Some models of magnetic latches require drilling, but others like these ones from Amazon don’t, and that’s going to be easier to deal with.

These won’t make your kitchen look ugly either, because they’re completely invisible from the outside.

It’s kind of a genius mechanism that’s hard to explain. The latch itself installs via an adhesive to the inside of the drawer, and you have a magnetic key that disengages the lock.

When the latch is installed, you can even flip a switch inside to disable the locking mechanism.

These latches work with a magnetic “key”. You just hold the key to the drawer with one hand and pull with the other hand, and it magically opens.

You get 8 locks and one key in the pack, which should work with most setups. If you need more, you can always get a second package.

These latches don’t let you open the drawer at all, so there’s no chance of getting tiny fingers getting pinched at all. Some types of latches have this problem, but not these ones.

This is a video showing how the system works; they’re installed on cabinets and not drawers, but you get the idea.

A jankier method for drawers: using a tension rod.

baby proof with a tension rod

If your drawers are in a cabinet and all lined up in a row, you might be able to secure them with a shower or curtain tension rod.

Now, there is a limitation to this: the top of the drawer has to overhang far enough to be able to put the end of the rod against it.

If your drawers will work with this, it’s a quick solution. You just put the rod in place and expand it far enough to solidly push against the overhang of the drawers and the floor.

If your drawers have handles instead of knobs, you can put the rod through the handles for even more security. This way your child probably won’t be able to open the drawer at all, so there’s no risk of little pinched fingers.

If you can pull it off, this is a cheap, easy and non-permanent solution.

If you decide to go this route, make sure to measure your drawers and then choose a rod that will fit. These ones will fit drawers 15-28″ and is very cheap. Works well!

A DIY solution for drawers.

baby proofing with a yard stick

For a quick DIY solution, you could try sticking a long object through the handles of the drawers.

Of course, this is only going to work if your drawers actually have handles you can put something through, but it does work in a pinch.

This method will work in places where the tension rod method won’t, but you do have to be careful that your son or daughter isn’t going to be able to pull open all of the drawers at once.

Solutions for baby-proofing your cabinets.

Cabinets can be a bit more tricky than drawers, but it can definitely be done.

The best solution is the same one we mentioned for your drawers, if it works for you. I’m talking about these magnetic latches from Amazon, and you can read more about them in the section above.

The velcro DIY method.

baby proof drawers with velcro
credit: simplynaturalmama.com

A good solution that’s cheap and works pretty well is the velcro DIY method.

This method isn’t foolproof—a stronger toddler will be able to pull the doors open still—but it will work for younger children.

  1. Basically, you’ll purchase some stick-on velcro strips like these.
  2. Cut a strip the appropriate size, and measure on the inside of the door and the frame of the cupboard to line it up.
  3. Stick the velcro pads on, and give it a try.

Essentially, the velcro should keep the door shut and be too hard for tiny hands to open it, while you should be able to pull it open yourself.

It’s worth giving this method a try especially if you already have some velcro strips around the house.

Secure dressers with furniture anchors.

Please anchor your dressers to the wall.

According to the government website Anchor It, every 43 minutes a child is sent to the emergency room due to a furniture tipping accident. (source)

Take a look at this video that demonstrates exactly why you should do it:

Anchors like these are a quick, simple solution that works.

Always keep an eye on them.

Remember, baby-proofing is no substitute for supervising your children.

Even the most obsessive baby-proofing parent can miss something, and you’d be amazed at what kind of trouble a creative toddler can get into.

It’s always safest to keep an eye on them at all times.

Do you have any questions about baby-proofing your drawers or cupboards? Let us know in the comments below.

2 comments
  1. I just had to stop by and tell you THANK YOU for the tension rod idea! I have had my drawers on the counters for months because my toddler kept pulling them out and the babyproofing systems on the market either didn’t fit our drawers or my son could break right through them. I finally broke down, changed the handles on our drawers to have “hollow” handles so the tension rod could fit through, and he can’t figure it out! It cost my $15 to get the rod and 4 new handles. I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner!

    1. Maria, I’m glad you liked the idea! It’s crazy how toddlers can get around so many of the baby-proofing products out there. The tension rod method is pretty much fool (and baby) proof. :)

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