French Door Safety for Children and Pets
There are few better ways of bringing some extra light and warmth to your home than a set of French doors. However, families with small children or pets may want to consider potential safety issues when installing them. Especially if you intend on leaving them open on a regular basis. Here we'll give parents and pet owners a few options that should help dissipate any serious fears.
French Doors: Child Safety
Lock – The locking mechanism on your French doors might seem too complicated for a small child to manage but you'll be surprised how adventurous they can be. Your French doors should be with a multi-locking system and the keys kept out of reach at all times. Extra bolts are also a good, inexpensive extra measure. If you're still worried that your child will be able to open the French doors, there are extra baby-proofing options available. Things such as door knob covers, handle locks and pinch guards, whatever suits your needs.
Safety Pens – A great idea that will allow you to keep your French doors open without having to stumble over a gate every time you want to head outside. A safety pen or play pen that you can install in your kitchen, living room or conservatory is a great safe haven for your young ones.
Baby Gate – In the summer months, you're going to want to leave your French doors open from time to time to fully enjoy the weather. But the last thing you'll want is to hear your little ones howling when they fall and find themselves coming face-to-face with a door step. If you have a small child or baby and live in a home with more than one floor, then you probably already own a baby gate. Usually installed across the stairs, using a similar gate to section off your French doors is also an option. Keeping your children inside and safe when you have them open while still allowing you to enjoy your garden.
Fire Guards – Whilst they haven't been expressly designed for the purpose of door safety, this is still a great option. Traditionally these are the extendable guards that you use to place in front of the fireplace. But they could also quite easily be used to keep your children from wandering or crawling outside without your permission.
French Door Safety for Pets
Cats – The great thing about French doors for cat owners is that they can be customised to include cat flaps, even if they are double glazed! Fitting a cat flap is a simple job. It can be done on any UPVC panelled, double glazed, single glazed, wooden, aluminium or metal French doors, though prices will vary. However, if installing in a double glazed unit, the glass will need to be replaced. Of course, having a cat flap installed could also leave your home exposed to unwanted feline intruders besides your own cat. So, make sure you're familiar with all It's a lot easier to install a cat flap than it is to remove one! If you're worried about your cat getting out at night you could install a cat flap with a lock that you leave open during the day and lock at night for safety.
Dogs – Dogs are, by their very nature, a lot less independent than cats. So, you'll need to take even greater precautions when securing your French doors for them. The most obvious option is a dog gate; these operate in much the same manner as a baby gate. Only they are built to be more easily retractable, as dogs lack the opposable thumbs and dexterity to operate the locking mechanism. You could also buy an exercise pen, which will give your dog an element of freedom and allow it to run around at leisure whilst you leave the doors wide open. This allows you to let the sunshine and warm summer air into your home without the worry of escape. If you have a dog and a cat, you could even buy a pet gate with an added cat flap. Though your dog will probably resent the cat just a little bit for being able to come and go as it pleases.
Keeping French Doors Open
One of the most common ways small children and pets get injured by French doors, is when they are closed or opened by a strong gust of wind, resulting in trapped fingers or paws. This could also prove problematic if the doors slam shut when your child or dog is outside and can't make it back in! The most thorough fix is a French door restrictor, which is a metal arm attached to the doors and the doorframe that stops them from opening all the way. You could also purchase a door wedge or stopper to hold the door when it's open to stop it from closing. Though this might not protect you from a particularly strong gust of wind. Another option would be to install a door stop or wind catch hook. These are installed on the exterior of your home to stop the door when it's blown open or hold it open during strong winds. One final (and perhaps more ambitious) option could be an awning attachment. An awning attachment sits above your French doors and uses a clamping system to keep them open.
All children and pets are different of course, so how you handle your French door security will depend on your needs. If your kids/pets are particularly confident explorers who are always getting themselves locked in and out of places. You might want to spend a little extra to make sure nothing serious happens. On the other hand, if your children and pets are generally well behaved, shelling out on loads of extra security devices might be unnecessary and needlessly cumbersome. Either way, there are so many options that you'll never need to resort to less reliable DIY options.