When it comes to baby proofing door locks, there are many different choices, because there are way too many kinds of doors in this world. Some will work wonders for you, and some will be total crap. An example would be a door knob cover for lever door knobs. Most of them suck.
Fortunately, most of them are pretty good as long it suits your situation. Below, I will explain thoroughly how each tool works, and whether it fits your situation. They are all tailored for different needs. You just have to make different compromises. Enough of the classroom talk, let’s get started.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to baby proof circular door knobs is to install a door knob cover. It requires no drilling, or screwing. You simply pop it on your knob and you go on with your merry way. It is so easy that even your cat can do it for you…well alright I exaggerated a little bit. Nevertheless it is for easy to install for anybody.
How Does It Work?
The idea behind a door knob cover is to make it so that your toddler can not grip the door knob. The way this works is to use something much wider to cover your door knob like a hand and glove. If you attempt to turn this door knob cover, it will simply spin around the door knob it is hiding.
You might be wondering this. It doesn’t sound parents can use this door knob either! No worries. On this door knob cover, there are two holes in which adults can reach into with two fingers (usually thumb and index finger). In other words, if parents want to use the door knob from now on, you can only use two fingers to open your door.
This is something that can not be done by children, because they have small hands and short fingers. For people with arthritis problems, this can be a challenge. For the folks with inflammatory joints, you can try adding a bunch of rubber bands to the actual door knob itself so that it will have more grip when you attempt to open it with two fingers.
However, don’t add too many rubber bands or your door knob will get “thick” enough for your child to access it. Of course, if you are unsure that your arthritic hands can open a door this way, then try it before you attempt to make any purchases of door knob covers. Try using two fingers with rubber bands on your door knob and see if you can open it. If you can’t then a door knob cover is not right for you.
Of course, if door knob covers don’t work for you, don’t start crying and giving up hope yet. I have more options for you. I will cover more about alternate options later.
Does It Work On All Kinds Of Door Knobs?
It probably won’t work if your door knob is:
- too big – if it fits too snugly, the door knob cover will grip the door knob rather than spinning freely
- Too small – your toddler will simply pull tug the whole cover off because it can’t hold onto a small knob
- shaped like a lever – it is meant for circular knobs
Yes I know, door knob covers are quite picky when it comes to choosing compatibility. That’s why when you buy these, I recommend you buy one or two to try first before buying in bulk.
If you want to see what a door knob cover actually looks like, check out this video here:
As you can see, door knob covers are cool because they are cheap, and easy to install. Their main disadvantage is that they don’t work with every type of door knobs.
Munchkin’s Door Knob Covers
If you want to try a cheap door knob cover, the Munchkin version is pretty good. They cost around $5 to $6 per cover on amazon. The Munchkin door knob cover is inexpensive but it is very fragile. It is simply two pieces of plastic after all. If you simply installed this, your toddler will the two half pieces of time as it wears off in durability.
If you want to get every bang for your buck and have this cover last longer, there is a way to modify it. Simply duct tape the cover so that the two half pieces can not be pulled apart. Just make sure that you don’t cover the holes with the tape. Once you have fixed this weakpoint, the Munchkin door knob cover will be a wonderful purchase.
Of course, nothing is perfect in this world. Munchkin door knob covers do run a bit small. As mentioned earlier, if the door knob cover fit your door knob too snugly then you pretty much defeat the whole purpose of buying it. If you want a door knob cover that is just as cheap yet bigger in size, then check my next recommendation.
Jool Baby Door Knob Covers
These costs about the same as the Munchkins on amazon. However, instead of purchasing two in one pack, you are pretty much forced to purchase four in one pack. However, if you have a lot of door knobs at home to baby proof then this is probably one great deal for you. They cost roughly $14 for four knob covers which is roughly $3.50 per cover on amazon.
Jool door knob cover is bigger than Munchkins so it can fit more door knobs. Another interesting thing is that they have a lifetime money back guarantee if it really doesn’t work out for you. If you have a lot of door knobs in your house to baby proof, I would recommend Jool Baby over Munchkin any time.
How To Do It Yourself
If you really don’t want to purchase anything, then try making your own door knob cover. This is a rather popular method over the internet, but there’s no guarantee that it works. In the end, it depends on how strong and smart your toddler is.
The concept is very simple. Get something like a glove (not rubber) or a sock and cover your door knob with it. Secure it with a zip tie. This makes your door knob much harder to grip due to the lack of friction. In essence, this is similar to the door knob covers mentioned earlier.
For tiny hands, this kind of cover will pose some kind of challenge because it also spins freely around the door knob. People recommend using rubber bands to secure it, but I really doubt rubber bands will be enough to stop a strong toddler that is why I recommend zip ties instead.
Another tip I have to give you is to make two holes at the opening of your sock and slip your zip tie through them. This way, the sock cannot be accidentally pulled out under the zip tie.
What If Your Child Keeps Locking The Door?
Some children are not actually that interested in what is behind a door. Rather than opening the door, they mischievously lock the door. This would be a pain for those of your who have door knobs that has push button locks. The reason is because a door knob cover will not be able to stop this.
Before you throw in the towel and start screaming into your pillows, let me reassure you that there is a solution for that too. You should try something called the door monkey. This would also help those with arthritis problems.
If you have a child that enjoys locking the door on you, or have door knob that seems impossible to baby proof then it is time to try the door monkey door lock. This little device is also extremely easy to install like the door knob cover mentioned earlier.
One very interesting thing about the door monkey is that it keeps a crack open instead of allowing your door to shut completely. This is great if you want your child to stay sleeping in his room at night without wandering all over the house. The crack also allows you to hear your child better if she screams for your help.
Another cool feature of the door monkey is that it prevents finger pinching for babies. Let’s say you left the door open to a room by accident and your child accidentally closes the door, the door monkey will prevent the door from slamming on her little fingers when installed correctly.
If you want to see what the door monkey looks like, check out this youtube video here:
Make sure you install the door monkey high enough so that your children can not reach it. If you have older and younger children, you can adjust the height to the level of the taller and mature child so that she can have access to a hazardous room (bathroom for example) without welcoming danger to the younger one.
Can The Door Monkey Be Installed For Any Door?
Yes, and no. The door monkey itself only works for specific doors that are 1’ ⅜ “ (one foot and ⅜ of an inch) or 3.49cm. If your door any thicker than that, then it will not work for you.
Also, as you saw on the video, the door monkey needs to hook onto a specific type of molding (the flat piece of wood between the door and the door frame). If your molding is shaped irregularly, then you must purchase an optional catch in order for the door monkey to work for you.
The optional catch does not come with the order of the door monkey. You must order it separately. Just search for door monkey optional catch on amazon and you will find it.
How Much Force Can A Door Monkey Handle?
In theory, the door monkey can handle 40 to 50 pounds of force. Quite often, even a strong toddler won’t be able to break through it. Just make sure you check to see if there are any cracks or defects on the door monkey lock you received. If the quality is compromised then it won’t work as well.
For the door monkey, If you ask for a refund within thirty days, you will get your money back. However, if you went past the thirty refund period, you can still ask for an exchange if there is a defect in the product. The reason for that is because there is a one year warranty on the product. However, you have to contact customer service door monkey’s website in order to have that processed. They are very nice though so it usually shouldn’t be an issue.
Is The Door Monkey Still Useful After Your Child Grows Up?
Actually, the door monkey can still be pretty useful even when you don’t need to block access to a room anymore. When you clip it onto the door in reverse, it becomes an awesome pinch guard. Of course, if a pinch guard is all your are looking for, then the door monkey might be a little too expensive. Don’t worry, I have an awesome tip about that later about making your own effective pinch guard.
The Door Monkey Seems Impressive But What IF…..
The door monkey lock might seem awesome but it has two major weaknesses:
- the crack (it doesn’t close the door completely)
- smart toddlers
As mentioned earlier, the door monkey lock leaves a crack open for fresh air to go into the room. This can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the room you are using it for. If this is a bathroom we are talking about here, then that crack is obviously not a welcoming feature.
Of course, you can always take it down and close the bathroom door completely when you need to use it, then clip it back on when you are done. It is minor but it is still makes things slightly inconvenient. If you don’t mind doing that every time you go to the bathroom then this is not a big issue.
Having a smart toddler is actually another big issue. If she smart enough to reach the door monkey with a chair and stick without realizing the risks of hurting herself (drowning herself in the potty for example)then we will have to use something even more powerful to baby proof your door.
Unlike the door knob cover and the door monkey lock, the top door lock requires drilling and screwing in order for it to work. This lock is the ultimate baby proof lock because your toddler will not be able to reach it. The reason is because the lock itself so high, it is located at the top of the door frame.
Unlike the door monkey, this lock allows you to close the door completely. Your door can have any kind of door knob, because it wouldn’t matter. The top door lock is similar to a regular bolt, except it is a peg sticking out from the top molding. If you want to see what it looks like, check out this youtube video here:
What If I Am Short?
One concern parents have is that they would be too short to reach up and unlock the top lock. They do include a wand for you to lock and unlock the top lock. However, it doesn’t provide enough leverage so it can still be difficult for shorter people.
Does It Work On All Doors?
As you have seen in the video, this device only fits very specific doors. Just like the door monkey, if your door is thicker than 1’ ⅜” then it would definitely not work. Another issue is that you need space between the top of your door and the top molding. If this space doesn’t exist then the top lock plastic won’t be able to slide freely into the peg.
Another problem with this lock is that it will not work if your toddler is too strong. This is a design flaw. The piece that slides on top of the door is a very flimsy piece of plastic. If a toddler pushes or pulls the door hard enough, that plastic can bend and slip right over the door.
It would have been nice if this was made of metal. However, for younger toddlers, this will still work very well. If you are looking for something that is a lot stronger, I have one final solution for you.
If by any chance, you have tried everything above and it still doesn’t work out for you, then try the door guardian by cardinal gates. Cardinal has made good stuff like that baby gate I mentioned before. The door guardian is also very tough. It is so tough, you use it to lock the front and back door of your house. This device is like a hotel door lock. Once this thing is installed and locked correctly, you will have to break down the door before you can go through.
How Does It Work?
It works by requiring two tricky steps to unlock it. From a toddler’s point of view, it looks like one simply step. However, there is an extra step required that they can not see. You have to slide it out horizontally slightly, then rotate it unlock it. The slide is so subtle, toddlers wouldn’t be able to notice it. Not to mention it requires a bit of adult’s strength to be able to do that slide motion. If you want to see what that looks like, check out this youtube video here:
Does It Work On Every Type Of Door?
Theoretically, it does work with every type of door. However, the problem is the molding around the door frame. The door guardian requires your door to be at the same level as the door molding or else you will have to either remove the molding, or cut out a chunk of it so that the device is level with the door. This can be a big compromise for some people. For safety or beauty, you can only choose one when it comes to the door guardian. Of course, if your molding is at the same level of your door, then you simply have nothing to be concerned about.
Maybe the door guardian is a bit too extreme for you, because it can almost stop burglars not to mention a toddler. Maybe you were simply looking for something that prevents your toddler from pinching her fingers when she closes the door to her room. As I mentioned earlier, the door monkey does a good job at being a pinch guard. However, if you want something that is even cheaper then I have a solution for that.
As the name implies, a pinch guard is simply a device that prevents your door from slamming onto your child’s tiny fingers. They have a lot of variety of pinch guard products out there for sale and they are usually made of foam.
However, why bother purchasing for an expensive pinch guard when you can make a cheap one yourself? My solution for you is simple. All you need is a pool noodle.
A pool noodle is basically a long tube made of foam. In order to use it as a pinch guard, all you have to do is to cut one side lengthwise then cup it onto your door. If you don’t want your child to remove it by accident, simply cut it into a smaller piece then cup it higher on the door. If you don’t want to buy a pool noodle, then an old towel or old shirt will also work. Just test it out yourself before putting full confidence into it.