A Guide to Baby and Child-Proofing Doors

Photo of toddler girl standing by a glass door

Last updated on April 13th, 2022 at 09:22 am

If you’re the parent of a baby, toddler or small child, you know the importance of vigilance. Curious minds and tiny fingers can be a dangerous combination all over the home. Indeed, it’s often not until we have small children that we realise just how fraught with hazards the average home is. As much as parents want to encourage their children’s learning and development, they also want to ensure that their little ones are safe as they explore the home. With that in mind, proactive parents will likely want to childproof any areas of their homes that could be hazardous. 

And your home’s doors are no exception. 

Doors can, without due care and attention, be the sources of numerous mishaps for young children. As well as getting inquisitive little fingers trapped in doors or their workings, children can gain access to areas of the home or contents of cupboards that could be harmful to them. At Vibrant Doors, we want to ensure that your beautiful new external or internal doors are a source of nothing but pleasure and enjoyment. So, we thought we’d compile this guide to baby-proofing and child-proofing your doors all around the home. 

So you can enjoy your new doors, and your time with your kids, with complete peace of mind.

How to Childproof External Doors

Anyone who has (or has ever had) a toddler will tell you that they can get up to all sorts of adventures if you take your eyes off them for a few seconds. And since your mini ninjas can seem to vanish in the time it takes to blink, the last thing you need is for them to escape the confines of your home. 

With that in mind, child-proofing your external doors (front and back) should be a top priority. 

Fortunately, there are a number of options available to child- and baby-proof doors, preventing your little ones from making their way out of the home and going rogue:

  • Use a Yale lock on your front door or back door — These locks can help ensure that only those who have a key can gain entrance to the home, and their positioning is outside of the reach of small children
  • Install a deadbolt or chain— Installing a deadbolt or security chain above your lock is good practice for home security. But it can also prevent youngsters from being able to open your doors, even if they’re able to access the lock by standing on a chair or similar object
  • Cover your door handles— Questing hands may be able to open an unlocked external door by pulling down on the lever handle. Door handle and door knob covers can prevent children from opening your exterior doors by reaching up and pulling down. Silicon covers for door knobs are also available to prevent young children from banging little heads on protruding door handles
Photo of a baby girl crawling on a wooden floor
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash

Baby- and Child-proofing Bifold Doors

Bifold doors are a fantastic way to compartmentalise open-plan living spaces while maximising the available space in your home. Because of the way that they fold in on themselves, they can be a great space-saving measure. They’re also a great addition to closets, pantries and other areas of the home. However, with more folds and hinges come more opportunities for accidents and injuries when curious little ones are feeling adventurous. 

Fortunately, there are a couple of ways in which you can prevent mishaps when your kids come into contact with your internal bifold doors. 

The biggest potential problem is children unknowingly opening or closing the doors. Not only could they gain access to areas of the home where they are unsupervised, they may trap the skin of the hands or fingers in the joins when closing bifold doors. 

Both of these outcomes can be prevented using a slide lock. This sits at the top of the door, making it completely inaccessible to young children. Simply reach up and slide it across and it prevents accidental opening and pinched fingers. Slide locks are easy to install, fit virtually all doors and won’t compromise the aesthetic of your bifold doors. 

Alternatively, a hook and latch system, similar to that of a garden gate, may perform the same function but with an aesthetic that’s more in line with your sensibilities. As long as it’s positioned high enough to be out of your kids’ reach, either of these is a great way to child-proof or baby proof bifold doors.

How to Childproof Sliding Doors

Sliding doors are a stunning way to give your living space the gift of ample natural light and a spectacular view of your garden or patio area. They can provide easy access to your outdoor space, and a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors. 

When you share your home with young children, however, it quickly becomes apparent that this is a mixed blessing. 

As well as the dangers associated with accidental opening and trapped fingers, sliding patio doors have (on very rare occasions) become dislodged from their tracks and fallen on young children. Which is why it’s so important to ensure that your sliding glass doors are well maintained. We look at how to deal with a sticking sliding door here.

There are also a number of supplementary locks that can be purchased to prevent your child from accidentally opening your sliding doors. These are positioned at the top of the frame, and use either a bolt or clip mechanism to prevent the door from being slid open unless released by an adult. Some of these can be physically attached to the door. However, if you’re unwilling to drill into the door frame, there are lots of self-adhesive options available that can be attached to your sliding doors in minutes. 

Photo of little boy standing with his hand pressed against a glass door
Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

How Do I Child- or Baby-proof French Doors?

French doors can be a beautiful addition to your home, whether they’re installed internally or externally. But whether you use them to access your garden or to separate different living spaces, they represent the same risks to little ones. 

Panes of glass that are at a height accessible to young children can be broken or damaged, causing a cutting hazard. Which is why it’s a good idea to upgrade the glass in your French doors and sidelights if you are expecting to become a parent in the near future. Choose laminated security double glazing to minimise the risk of accidental breakage.

Installing a Yale lock will reduce the risk of accidental opening. If you have internal French doors, placing a lock over the doorknob or handle will also prevent curious tots from gaining access to areas of the home where they will be unsupervised or at risk. 

Another measure that parents can take to child-proof their French doors is to install drawer catches. These are affordable, unobtrusive and easy to install. They’ll keep a French door soundly shut, but are easy to release by an adult when you need to open your doors. 

Childproofing Internal Doors

Unfortunately, every internal door is a potential hazard when you have a curious or adventurous baby or toddler in the home. Even older children can become injured if they accidentally trap a hand or finger in a closing door. And if the door opens into a room where there are hazards (like the kitchen or utility room), you’ll want to employ measures to keep kids out.

The good news is that whatever your budget or how many interior doors you have in your home, there are easy and affordable ways to keep them safe for your kids:

  • Pinch guards can be slotted into the gap between hinges to wedge them open and prevent internal doors from closing fully and trapping tiny hands. These are a great option for infants’ bedroom doors that you want to keep open
  • Finger protectors can be installed on internal doors. These long L-shaped plastic attachments sit at a right angle between the door and the frame, preventing the door from being completely closed. 
  • A product called a ‘Door Monkey’ clips onto the side of your door and its monkey tail-shaped appendage grasps the door frame. This prevents the door from closing fully while keeping it secure and stable, allowing fresh air to circulate into the room 
  • Covers for door knobs and door handles can prevent curious hands from accidentally opening doors that are meant to be closed (while being easy for adult hands to circumvent)
  • A zero-budget solution (albeit perhaps the least attractive) is to hang a folded towel at the top of your door. This will provide a cushion when the door closes and provide a gap of a couple of centimetres to prevent little fingers from becoming trapped
  • Likewise, putting an old towel in between a closed door and its frame will prevent a child from accidentally opening an internal door, even if they feel compelled to play with the handle
Photo of a baby peeping out from under a pink blanket
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

How to Childproof Cupboard and Cabinet Doors

Household cupboards and cabinets often contain all manner of things that we don’t want our kids to interact with. From cleaning products to cutlery, the everyday items we rely upon can be hugely harmful to little ones when used incorrectly or (Heaven forbid) swallowed. What’s more, cupboard and cabinet doors represent the same degree of finger-trapping hazard as any other door in the home. 

As such, parents often want to child-proof their cupboard and cabinet drawers to stop access for their determined tots. Especially when their little ones are suddenly scooting around the home showing an active interest in virtually everything. Let’s face it, if it’s not bolted down (and sometimes if it is!), they’ll try and stuff it into their mouths. 

Surface-mounted cabinet door locks are a quick and easy way to prevent little ones from accessing cupboards and cabinets. These childproof door locks function in lots of different ways, but they all use a mechanism that prevents small children from opening cupboards that are easily circumvented by adults. Some use a key, others simply require the pinching of a plastic lever between the thumb and forefinger. Many of these are self-adhesive, so if you’re renting, you don’t even need to worry about breaching your tenancy agreement by drilling holes in your cabinets. 

Alternatively, magnetic safety locks are easy to install and sit snugly within the cupboard, negating the need for cupboard door handles or knobs. This type of child safety lock is quick and easy to install and is activated or deactivated with a magnetic key. 

If your cupboard doors have parallel handles, an a-lock (which is confusingly shaped like a ‘c’) can be slid into place over or around the handles to prevent them from being opened by tenacious tots.  

Upgrade Your Doors, Upgrade Your Door Safety

If you’re a new parent or have a bundle of joy on the way, now’s the perfect time to think about how upgrading your doors (especially those which contain glass), and locks could make your home safer and more secure. Take a look at our stunning range of internal and external doors. With a little extra child-proofing, you can ensure that your doors remain beautiful to behold while also helping to keep your little ones safe and sound! 

Featured image: Jeremiah Lawrence on Unsplash

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