Child-proofing (Part 4) – Cabinet Latches

Now we come to the real pain in the ass in the land of child-proofing.  Most people have a lot of cabinets in their home – kitchen, bathrooms, utility rooms and more – and you can rest assured your precious toddler will try each and every one until he finds the one that’s not latched.

There are a variety of products available from very simple screw in cabinet locks that cost $4.00 for a box full to extremely expensive magnetic locks that are $20 for 4 units.  The good news is, after testing a half dozen products, we recommend the cheapest one.

The magnetic locks are a great idea – “Tool free! Non-marring!” – but in our experience, they just don’t work that well.  Also, the adhesive that makes them “non-marring” a) doesn’t hold that well and b) creates its own damage with adhesive marks. You’re better off just drilling in most cases.

Our go to product in this category is this one, from Home Depot:

Cabinet Latch from Home Depot
Cabinet Latch from Home Depot

These Safety First latches are cheap, simple and work pretty well. You will need a drill to install them.  Home Depot is phasing out their in-store child-proofing section, so you may need to order them on line, but at $3.99 for 10 units you can’t beat them.

Safety 1st Latches

Yes, they have terrible reviews but we’re going to blame that on both user error and unreasonable expectations of the product. From our experience, you can spend literally ten times as much for a much fancier product (e.g., the magnet latches) such as these:

Magnetic Latches

These are a huge pain in the neck to install and also just don’t work very well. Not to mention expensive.  Yes, they have over 1300 reviews and a five star rating – which is why we bought them ourselves – but frankly, they suck.

Understand the Limitations of the Product

Here’s the thing: you have to understand the limitations of these products. They are a deterrent only.  They will not stop a determined child from opening them if they keep yanking on the cabinet but presumably you’ve already moved the really dangerous stuff somewhere else.  Right?

Secondly, they do have to be installed correctly. This isn’t rocket science but there is a trial and error learning curve. We suggest starting on the less critical cabinets first until you get a feel for how they go on.

Here’s what the finished product looks like:

The installed Safety 1st Latch (door side)
The installed Safety 1st Latch (door side)
Safety First Latch (Cabinet Side)
Safety First Latch (Cabinet Side)
Safety First Latch (on a drawer)
Safety First Latch (on a drawer)

Now get out that drill and get busy!

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