Protect your baby from door accidents

Toddler trying to lock the door using a key
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Your baby is curious by nature. Now that she’s on her feet, she might be able to reach the door handles or knobs. While it may seem exciting to be able to find out what’s behind the door, some rooms may not be safe for her. Not only that, she can pinch her little fingers in the door.

So, how can you protect your baby from door accidents? It’s time we start. If you think you have a good idea, let this guide be a refresher, and you might learn a tactic or two.

1 Use locks

If there are rooms in your house that you rarely access, like guests’ bedrooms, you can simply lock them and put the keys away (not in the door, please!). For the other rooms, like bathrooms, you can put a secondary lock on doors.

What are the lock types?

There are three types of locks typically used for this purpose. See what works best for you.

  • Hook-and-eye lock
  • Safety chain lock
  • Barrel bolt lock.

Few things to consider

  • The lock should be high and out of your baby’s reach, but fairly accessible to your other responsible children.
  • Bear in mind that the locks are visible, and kind of permanent after you install them. So make sure you are confident about your decision.
  • Most importantly, there is no point in having locks if they are not used properly by everyone in the household.

2 Cover door handles

If you don’t want to have anything permanent, there are affordable products that utilize different methods to prevent your child from accessing unsafe rooms.  

What are the options?

  • Doorknob cover: If you have a spherical doorknob, you can install a doorknob cover. When you need to open the door, you press the double buttons and turn the door knob easily.
  • Door lever lock: If you have a standard door handle, you can install a door lever lock. When you need to open the door, you press the release button on both sides and swing the lever up.
  • Door strap: If you have pets, you can install a door strap that keeps your baby out of a room but allows cats and small dogs in.

What are the advantages?

  • They are temporary and easy to install.
  • No tools needed.
  • No drilling required (usually).
  • Once your baby is older, you can easily remove them.

How to choose a product?

When you choose a product, you have to ask yourself two questions:

Question 1: Will my baby be able to figure out how to open the door?

This can be a little tricky. Babies are clever, especially when you’re trying to prevent them from doing something. So when you choose a product, make sure it is sturdy, and it cannot be easily defeated by your baby. However, if that happens, do not be disheartened. Try another one.

#Question 2: Does the product easily allow me to open and close the door?

If the product has a complex mechanism, you will most likely be frustrated every time you use it. So make sure the product you choose has an easy mechanism that you can use, in one hand preferably.

Need a quick fix?

If you need a quick fix or you don’t want to spend on babyproofing products, there are lots of do-it-yourself temporary options using regular household items, like a washcloth.

3 Use doorstops and finger pinch guards

If the door is meant to be open like a baby’s nursery, there are different options you can use:

  • Doorstop or door holder.
  • Pinch guard: It’s essentially a piece of foam, rubber, or plastic that clips around the hinged side or lock side to prevent little fingers from getting caught. The pinch guard has the bonus of preventing door slams if your baby pushes the door shut a little too hard.

Real stories

What happened?

One day, a colleague of mine came rushing to my office to inform me he had an emergency at home and had to leave. His child who was two years old at the time locked herself in one of the rooms. Apparently, the key to the room was left in the door lock. Adding to the problem, the child’s nanny didn’t have access to the spare key. Luckily, my colleague was able to wiggle out the key that was in the door and used the spare key to open the door.

One year later, the same colleague called me in the morning to inform me he will not be coming to the office as he had an emergency at home. His daughter was playing around in the bedroom while he was getting ready for work in the morning. He went to the bathroom and shut the door. His child decided to put her little finger in the door hinge at the very same moment. Ouch! They rushed her to the hospital to take care of her little finger which was significantly bruised.

What are the lessons learned?

My colleague’s child is not unique. All children are fascinated by doors and handles. Spare yourself the whining and the crying, and help your baby stay safe by implementing the below:

  • Never leave the keys in the door lock.
  • Cover door handles. Besides preventing your baby from opening the door, the cover will also keep her from getting locked in.
  • Pay attention when closing the door around your baby in order not to pinch your baby’s finger.

Doorstops and pinch guards should not be used on front and back doors, which should remain firmly closed.

In a Nutshell

What other steps did you take to protect your baby from door accidents? Share your tips in the comment below!

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