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If there are young children in your house, be sure to purchase cabinet latches to block off access to dangerous household substances and cleaning products. A cabinet latch discourages kids from being able to easily open your cabinet, while adults can still open it without much difficulty. But for grandparents or for people who only have children in their home part-time, an appealing cabinet door latch option is a fold-down style latch by Safety 1st that is very easy to disengage when you don't need it. Called the Ultra Secure Cabinet and Drawer Latches, these spring-latches are durable and easy to install and prevent children from opening cabinets when they are there, but then when the children leave, the safety latch can be folded down until the next time they return. This innovative idea provides safety without inconvenience.
Unframed cabinets, which are also known as European cabinets, have no frame between the cabinets and drawers. If you have this style in your house, you know the challenges that come with having no where to locate the safety latch needed to secure the doors and drawers in place against your child's curiosity. You will need to buy cabinet latches specifically made for this type of cabinet. Usually they are mounted on the sides of the drawer, or at the bottom of the cabinet doors. Be sure to follow all of the child safety latch installation instructions carefully and to check with a childproofing expert if you don't feel that the latches are secure. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Proper installation of cabinet latch ensures its effectiveness. Take a few extra moments to measure out the space where the latch base and latch will be mounted.
Usually, this measures about half-an-inch to an inch from the edge of the cabinet. When the cabinet is opened, the latch should prevent the cabinet door from moving past 1.5 inches.
Not only cabinets are dangerous for young children. Appliances also need latches to keep your kids safe. Select a heavy-duty cabinet latch for your refrigerator, microwave, washing machine, drier, stereo and file cabinets. Some appliance cabinet safety latch designs attach to the sides or tops of appliances using a special adhesive that is strong enough to prevent your child from opening.
Safety latches don't only keep kids out of your drawers. They can also be an important way to help prevent injuries. By putting cabinet latches on all of the cabinets that your child can reach, you can keep him or her from opening the doors and drawers and then banging into them. Since sharp edges can be dangerous, using latches even on areas that don't contain any hazardous substances is just one more important step in your childproofing routine. It can also prevent your child from getting his or her fingers stuck in your cabinets and drawers. And for children who like to climb and explore, consider putting cabinet safety latches up on your high cabinets to limit access and injuries there, too.
Several products and household items should be protected from children. Keep chemicals, medicines, adult toiletries (razors, mouthwash, etc.), and other potentially hazardous items in specific cabinets. Install a cabinet door latch on each of these cabinets.
* Here's a secret: you can even place cabinet door latches on drawers you simply don't want opened, even if they don't hold dangerous items!
When you childproof your cabinets, don't forget to include your lazy susan door on your list of those that need cabinet safety latches. Most lazy susans are actually attached to the cabinet door itself, so by putting in a special cabinet latch to stop the door from opening, you can prevent your child from getting his or her fingers caught and pinched. Before purchasing a lazy susan cabinet latch, though, make sure your lazy susan and door work together so the latch will be effective.
Not every cabinet safety latch requires using hardware for installation. If you have cabinets with non-drillable doors, you may wish to consider purchasing a latch that has an adhesive backing.
This style of cabinet latch is perfect for bathroom mirrored cabinets or glass cabinets. They install in seconds, and stick firmly to the surface of the door. Child safety doesn't get much more convenient than that!
For cabinets with double doors or side-by-side pulls, you can use a side by side type of cabinet safety latch that secures the handles of the two doors together. Although you can get away without any installation if you use this style cabinet latch, the locks are always visible and are often more time consuming to operate. These locks are a popular choice for under-the-sink cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms.
You know you want cabinet latches to safeguard the hazardous items in your home, but you may not know how to select from the wide range of styles that exist. The first step in selecting a cabinet safety latch is to determine what type of cabinets you have.
Some cabinets are frameless, which is also called European style, while others are set into a frame and may have a partial or full overlay, or a partial or full inset. If you aren't sure which style you have, check with your local home improvement or hardware store and describe your setup to a salesperson there and see if they can guide you. You should also take a close look at your drawers to see if there is one layer of wood or two at the face of the drawer, since this can affect how a cabinet latch will attach.
Finally, consider whether your cabinet has a lip that reaches beyond the front of the cabinets and determine how much room exists between the top drawers and where the countertop starts. Once you have all these facts at hand, decide how many latches you will need. Generally, people put a cabinet door latch on all of their cabinets and drawers that are below waist-level to keep their children out, but the decision is yours depending on what will work best for your needs.
While you want to use cabinet latches to restrict access to those cabinets that contain household products that could be dangerous in your child's hands, you may also want to designate a special safe cabinet that contains things with which your child can safely play while you make dinner. Don't put cabinet latches on this cabinet, or that may confuse your child and send a mixed message and the open cabinet latch can also be a safety hazard for your child. Also, always make sure that the safe play cabinet is not connected with any cabinets that hold dangerous substances. Finally, select a location for the play cabinet that is well away from the area where you cook.
Cabinet latches are a critical aspect to child-proofing your home. Babies and children are naturally curious. As they grow, so does their curiosity. By placing cabinet latches on doors that conceal household cleaning products, medicines, or even kitchen utensils, you can prevent your children from doing harm to themselves. Most cabinet latches can also be used on drawers. They are a must in the kitchen and bathroom, where many of these dangerous items can be found.
If safety is a real priority in your house, consider investing in Tot-Lock magnetic latches for your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. This sophisticated locking system, which doesn't show from the outside of the cabinets, requires a special key that magnetically opens the locks. The locks also have a switch you can use to turn off the cabinet safety latch system if you desire when your children are in bed. This is the easiest and most secure type of cabinet latch system to use, but requires that you find a place where you can keep the key handy for you but where your child won't be able to get it. A starter set of four locks and a key costs about $20.
When shopping for cabinet and drawer latches, it's important to find latches that are easy to install and easy to use. Gerber latches fit the bill! Simply position the latch on the inside lip of drawer so the hook will clear the catch part of the cabinet as drawer is closed. Screw the provided two screws into either side of the latch. When children try to open the cabinet, the latch will catch, stopping the door from opening more than an inch or so. Adults can open the cabinet or drawer easily, however. Just press the spring button down as you pull open the door!
If you have faced-framed cabinets and want to make them safe so your curious children can't get into them, try Gerber latches. Gerber makes a one-piece cabinet latch design that is easy-to-install on cabinets and drawers that have frames. This style makes it difficult for little fingers to open, but adults just need to push on a spring-loaded button to allow the cabinet to open. So you can get what you need but still keep your young children out of your things.
A hint: Look to be sure that cabinets and drawers fit into an actual frame to use this type of lock.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|