How To:

Select a Safety Latch

The many styles of safety latches and cabinet construction makes selecting the right latches and deciding where to install them somewhat confusing. The most logical first step is to determine the location and number of latches you’ll need. Some people decide to only latch cabinets with items such as cleaning supplies and knives. Others install latches on all cabinets but one, leaving the unlatched cabinet for their baby to explore. Either of these scenarios may appeal to you, the best defense against injuries is to install latches on all cabinets and drawers that are at waist level or below. This helps guard against the possibility of something overlooked such as the box of saran wrap with a razor sharp edge or the drawer with a food processor blade hiding under the dish towels. It also prevents using drawers as a stepstool and makes it very clear to tots that all drawers and cabinets are off-limits for play. 

Latches and locks for cabinets and drawers vary in design. The Tot-Lok is perhaps the best for security since this lock can only be opened with a specially designed, heavy-duty magnetic key. This lock also has a disengage feature that allows you to open and close cabinets and drawers as if there were no lock installed. (Great for grandma’s house or when your kids have grown and you no longer need childproofing!) You can also select from various two-piece style latches in which the long part of the latch "grabs" and locks onto a smaller piece or a spring-loaded cabinet latch in which you push down on a button to release the latch. 

Before selecting latches, you’ll have to carefully examine your cabinets and drawers. There are a variety of styles such as frameless (sometimes referred to as European Cabinets), partial overlay, full overlay, partial inset or full inset. When examining your drawers check to see if they have a single or double layer of wood at the drawer face. Other things to check: Does the countertop extend over the cabinets? When opened so it’s flush with the edge of the countertop, does the front of the top drawer almost touch the underside of the countertop? Quite a bit of "prep" work before you buy. 

When installing latches you’ll need several tools on hand. A screwdriver and a drill with different size drill bits are a must. And don’t forget to wear safety glasses when installing latches. Take your time and if things are getting troublesome, step away and come back to the task later when you are more relaxed.

SAFETY LATCHES AND LOCKS FOR CABINETS AND DRAWERS

Frameless Cabinets and Drawers

You can easily identify these cabinets by their lack of frame between drawers or between drawers and the cabinets below. If you were to remove all the drawers you’d be staring at an empty box. These cabinets present a real challenge since there is nothing for the latch to lock onto. Sometimes you can mount the latch on the side of the drawer and rotated at a 90 degree angle (from the installation instructions). You’ll have to make sure that the sides of the drawer are at least 1 1/4 inches lower that the drawer front so you’ll have enough room to mount and operate the latch. The top drawer should not be much of a problem, as long as the overhang of the counter is 1 1/2 inches or less, and the drawer front is of double thickness. If necessary, you may want to install the latch close to the left or right side of the drawer so you can reach in from the side. If there is no frame on the cabinets to install the latches, you can install all the latches at the bottom of the cabinet doors, rotating the latch 90 degrees (from the installation instructions).

Recommended latches:

Rev A Shelf Tot-Lok Magnetic Cabinet and Drawer Lock, 2 Locks 1 Key Rev A Shelf Tot-Lok Magnetic Cabinet and Drawer Lock, 2 Locks/1 Key
$14.95
Item # 2221

Partial Overlay and Full Overlay Cabinets and Drawers

Here the cabinet and drawer fronts either partially or fully overlay the frame behind them. (This means that there is only a little bit of wood or none at all between where the drawers and cabinets doors meet one another.) A tip: measure twice and drill once! Drawers tend to be simpler to latch and, in general, you only need to make sure that your counter either has less than 1 1/5 inch overhang or that your drawer does not come too close to the underside of the counter, either situation will make it possible for successful latch installation.

Recommended latches: 

Rev A Shelf Tot-Lok Magnetic Cabinet and Drawer Lock, 2 Locks 1 Key Rev A Shelf Tot-Lok Magnetic Cabinet and Drawer Lock, 2 Locks/1 Key
$14.95
Item # 2221
Safe-Lok, 6 pk. Safe-Lok, 6 pk.
$6.98
Item # 356
Drawer   Cabinet Latch 4-Pack Drawer & Cabinet Latch 4-Pack
$5.49
Item # 6192

Partial Inset Cabinets and Drawers

These cabinets and drawers insert partially into the frame. Latches can be installed following the same recommendations for partial and full overlay cabinets and drawers. Keep in mind that two-piece latches must be mounted further back on the frame to allow the cabinet door or drawer to fully close. 

Full Inset Cabinets and Drawers

These cabinets and drawers fully inset into the frames. (The faces of the drawers and cabinets are flush with the frame. They present a very clean, streamlined look but are sometimes difficult to latch. Since they inset completely into the frame there is sometimes no surface to attach a latch unless the frame extends back enough to provide space to mount a latch. If you have the space to mount a latch, the #5100 Cabinet Latch is a good choice. If this is not the case, you’re limited to the one-piece #6192 Cabinet Latch.

Recommended latches: 

Drawer   Cabinet Latch 4-Pack Drawer & Cabinet Latch 4-Pack
$5.49
Item # 6192

Side-By-Side Cabinets

For cabinets with double doors or side-by-side pulls you can use a lock that secures the handles of the two doors together. Although you can get away without any installation, the locks are always visible and are often more time consuming to operate. 

Examples: 

Deluxe Cabinet Lock, 2 pk. Deluxe Cabinet Lock, 2 pk.
$9.98
Item # 5110-2

SAFETY LATCHES FOR OVENS, REFRIGERATORS AND OTHER APPLIANCES

Many styles of latches are available to secure these common household appliances. Most secure with double-sided adhesive. Be aware that certain latches were designed specifically for ovens and appliances that generate heat and use a special heat-resistant adhesive. Also, some styles attach at a 90 degree angle while others must be mounted to a flat surface.

Examples

Parent Units Fridge Guard Appliance Safety Latch, 2 pk. Parent Units Fridge Guard Appliance Safety Latch, 2 pk.
$17.95
Item # 125
Nylon Safety Latch, 2 pk. Nylon Safety Latch, 2 pk.
$7.98
Item # 3351
Oven Lock Oven Lock
$4.99
Item # 241
 

The stovetop is another area of concern and a Stove Guard will help keep tots from reaching this surface. It’s a clear, plastic shield that mounts to the front, side or top of your stove. For the stove knobs, you can use a cover that encloses knobs and prevents them from turning or a lock that installs underneath the knob that prevents knobs from turning.

Examples: 

Stove Guard Stove Guard
$25.99
Item # 410
Stove Knob Locks, 5 pk. Stove Knob Locks, 5 pk.
$6.95
Item # 243

The dishwasher is another area of concern. It contains many sharp objects, glass items and detergent so it’s best to keep it secured. A dishwasher lock does the job.

Examples: 

Stove Guard Stove Guard
$29.95
Item # 411
Stove Knob Locks, 5 pk. Stove Knob Locks, 5 pk.
$6.95
Item # 243