Child safety lock

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A child safety lock is a special-purpose lock for cabinets, drawers, bottles, etc. that is designed to help prevent children from getting at any dangerous things or contents. Young children are naturally curious about their surroundings and will always explore, but as they may be unaware of dangerous substances or situations, the results can be fatal. Numerous cases of poisoning have resulted from eating brightly colored pills or spilling cleaning solvents.


In the United States, child safety locking mechanisms have been required by law since 1970 on all containers for potentially dangerous medicines and household cleaning products. These laws are enforced by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. These locking mechanisms may take several forms, but the most common is a design that requires a tab to be pressed firmly as the lid is twisted. Great strength and dexterity are not required to open the bottle, but the process is deliberately made to be unintuitive, and the children who might recklessly eat pills are unable to decipher the opening instructions. Parents and guardians are firmly admonished [1] to keep all such containers out of the reach of children anyway, as no locking device is foolproof. It has become common practice in households to keep medicines and pills in high cabinets (sometimes locked) for safety. Cleaning agents, however, are still generally kept under sinks, where they are accessible.

Cabinet doors[edit]

Another type of lock is an inexpensive device which can be easily installed into drawers, cabinets, or other openables to prevent easy opening. It consists of a bendable plastic rod with a blunt hook on one side, and is situated on the inside of the drawer or cabinet. The hook catches on part of the drawer or door and prevents opening unless the rod is bent downward simultaneously to disengage the hook. These devices are helpful to pet owners as well — a typical housecat may be able to paw open a cabinet filled with food, but would have trouble operating the hook mechanism. Also available are electromagnetic cabinet locking devices that are activated via remote control.

Certain locks are available specifically for child proofing. These locks have the same function as the other lock design: to lock away valuables, food, or dangers from unwanted guests. However, these locks have a design that resembles a strap like lock. It attaches with two adhesive stickers and opens with a small slider. This slider was specifically designed to be tough for smaller children to get open, such as the medicine/cleaning product containers. Because of its latch design, it is not only able to strap to cabinets, but also other objects of the like. This includes but is not limited to fridges, toilets, garbage cans, drawers, microwaves, etc...

Magnetic safety locks[edit]

Magnetic safety lock

In recent years, new hidden magnetic cabinet locks opened by a magnetic key have became widespread.[2] Their advantage is the ability to lock cabinets and drawers, even without handles, while leaving the decor clean and smooth.


Child safety locks are built into the rear doors of most cars to prevent rear seat passengers from opening the doors both during transit and while the vehicle is stationary; vehicles have been built with this feature since the early 1980s. They provide the vehicle driver with a simple, safe & secure method to prevent unauthorized exit from the car. Although called a child lock, it is equally effective for adult passengers.

The lock is typically engaged via a small switch on the edge of the door that is only accessible when the door is open. Some cars implement the child lock control as a rotary mechanism which can only be operated with a key. This design ensures the child lock remains in its intended state, and is invaluable for older children or adults who may tamper with the lock when the door is open. Once the door is closed, control of these two mechanical type child locks is completely inaccessible to the passengers. In some newer models the child lock can be activated electronically from the driver position via a Door control unit,[3] although Nissan offered manual, remote controlled child locks on their Pulsar/Cherry as early as 1982.[4]

When the child lock is engaged, the interior handle is rendered useless, usually moving freely without unlatching the door. In this state a passenger cannot open the door nor disable the lock, and is effectively locked in. The door can only be opened by someone lifting the outside handle- either a second person or by the passenger opening the window and reaching the outside handle.

Pool Fencing[edit]

Child safety locks can be fitted to pool fencing in order to make a pool area safer.

In Australia, pool fencing is required by law. It is stipulated that the lock should be attached on the side of the fence facing toward the pool, so that anyone entering would have to reach over the top of the boundary. Failing this, the child safety lock should be at least 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) off the ground.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gaunt, Michael J. (May 2007). "Child-resistant does not mean Childproof". Pharmacy Times. Retrieved 3 March 2009.
  2. ^ "example of the innovative locks". ElitTop. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  3. ^ Volvo V40 2015 AT1420: Child safety locks - electrical activation (owners manual), Volvo Cars United Kingdom, 2015
  4. ^ De Leener, Philippe (1983-03-10). "Essai Détaillé: Nissan Cherry 1.7 GL Diesel" [Detailed Test]. Le Moniteur de l'Automobile (in French). Brussels, Belgium: Editions Auto-Magazine. 34 (764): 40.