Introduction: How to Babyproof Cabinets & Drawers

About: I'm Chris, a thirty-something British bloke with a ton of passions: sailing, travelling, DIY, adventure, climbing... I love making YouTube videos about these passions. Check out my videos on my website or YouT…

We all know how much babies and toddlers love to get into cupboards and drawers. This can be dangerous for a number of different reasons:

  1. They can get at what's inside (If it's a sock drawer then it's not a problem, but children seem to be naturally drawn towards more dangerous items!)
  2. They can crush their little fingers in the gaps when they push the drawer / door shut.
  3. If a child opens multiple drawers, the shifting weight can make the entire chest of drawers fall on top of them. [A sobering google search]

In this instructable we will fit some cheap, but brilliant, magnetic door locks. They are not visible externally once fitted and you don't need any tools at all to install them.

Here are some advantages of magnetic cabinet locks:

  • They maintain the nice aesthetics of your furniture (You can't see them when they are installed).
  • You don't need any tools to fit them.
  • They can be disabled instantly (there is a flip switch to turn them off - see the video below).
  • Once your children have grown up, they can be removed without damaging your furniture.
  • They work really well, despite being inexpensive!

Step 1: Watch the Video and Buy Some Magnetic Door Locks

Here's a video I made about this subject. It covers the following:

  • What's in the box.
  • How magnetic cabinet locks work.
  • How to install these locks on drawers.
  • Cabinet / cupboard door installation.
  • Installing the magnetic key holder.
  • Our baby, Emma, trying to open a locked drawer...

If you have the bandwidth, you can watch the short video above, or via this link:

For your convenience, here are links to the kind of magnetic door locks we used in our house. These are affiliate links, so if you purchase via these links I may get a small commission from Amazon. (This costs you nothing, zero, zilch, nada, niente, but helps me provide for my family and allows me to keep making useful content to help others.)

What I would say here is that we bought a set of 16 locks with 3 keys, thinking that this would be plenty for our house. The reality is that we will need another set, so it's worth spending a few minutes counting up all the doors and drawers that you need to secure before ordering the number of locks you need. These kits are cheap, so you can buy more than one set without breaking the bank. (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) (Amazon Canada)

If you watched the video (and checked out the other helpful videos on my YouTube Channel, perhaps even subscribing if you like helpful videos on random subjects...) then you have now got all the information you need and my work here is done, happy magnetic locking and thank you!...

In case some of you can't watch the video I will cover all of the steps in this instructable too.

Step 2: Fit the Door Locks to Your Drawers and Cabinets

This kit comes with a simple installation tool. This holds the lock and latch in place while they are positioned on the furniture. As is typical with this kind of product, the supplied instructions are pretty useless. Fortunately for you, I am your guinea pig and have worked out how to fit these things on your behalf! Here are my suggested installation instructions:

  • Place the latch into the installation tool.
  • Click the latch into place so it is held by the installation tool.
  • Now place the lock into the installation tool as shown in the photo.
  • Position the latch. This can be in the middle of the drawer, or (if the wood which runs traversely does not have the required depth) the lock and latch can be fitted at the side of the drawer. It will become obvious if this is necessary when you go to fit the latch.
  • Make sure there is no dust on the surfaces where you will be sticking the adhesive patches.
  • Remove the backing from the adhesive patch on the latch and stick it into position. You should stick this back the same distance as the thickness of the front edge of the drawer. i.e. if the drawer is 1/2" thick, stick the latch 1/2" back from the front face of the drawer edge.
  • Now, with the installation tool and lock being held in position by the adhesive on the latch, remove the backing from the adhesive patch and gently close the drawer.
  • This will stick the lock into the "correct" place on the inside of the drawer. However, I found I had to unstick the lock and move it up 2 millimetres to get the correct positioning. [Isn't it silly the way us Brits mix and match imperial and metric measurements... 2 mm is about 1/16th of an inch]
  • Remove the installation tool and check that the lock works as expected. When you are satisfied that the positioning is perfect, push the adhesive backing padshard. This properly adheres them to the furniture.N.B. It takes 24 hours for the backing pads to adhere to their full strength, so give them time before you start trying to stress test them by pulling hard.

That's it! :-)

If you do your drawers first, fitting these to cabinet doors will be easy as you will understand exactly how everything works and what clearances the components need.

Step 3: Test Your New Magnetic Locks!

These kits come with powerful neodymium magnet driven keys. As you bring the key into the proximity of the lock, the magnet acts upon a ferrous metal component inside the lock and this overcomes the spring pressure on the normally extended "hook", which thereby allows you to open the drawer or door.

The keys come with a magnetic holder, which come with an adhesive backing pad and can be placed up high, out of reach of children. Keeping the key there is a handy way to not have to waste time looking for the key when you are late for an appointment - because you are a parent :-) - so try to pick a place which is in easy reach of where you need to use the key.

Check that everything is working porperly and then release the children for the final proof of the pudding! Remember it takes 24 hours before the adhesive backing pads to gain their full strength, so caution should be exercised in this period.

Above is a final photo of our baby daughter, Emma, who is coming to terms with the fact that she can no longer empty our underwear drawer(!)

We have now covered the following:

  • 3 reasons to secure your furniture if you have children in the house.
  • Advantages of magnetic cabinet locks.
  • Where to buy magnetic cabinet locks.
  • How to fit magnetic cabinet locks.

I hope you found this instructable helpful. Please let me know if you did by commenting below.

Until next time, and don't forget... LOVE LIFE!

Chris :-)

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