Children have an innate gift: a high dose of creativity packaged in with a high sense of curiosity.
This mix, together with limitless ideas on daily adventures, inadvertently leads to plenty of avoidable injuries!
The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies child injuries as a global health problem, and a large proportion of these injuries occur in or around the home.
Figures issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that in the United States alone, around 12,000 children and young adults (aged 1 to 19 years) die annually from unintentional injuries.
Of these, 2,200 die following an injury at home, and 3.5 million visit the emergency department after ending up in trouble while at home.
These scary numbers show how important it is that you childproof your home as soon as possible, well before your baby makes their grand entrance.
The refrigerator might not be something that comes to mind when childproofing your home, but it should! Refrigerators can (and do) get kids in trouble, in more ways than one.
In this article, we’ll look into why you should childproof your refrigerator, and exactly how you can do that.
Before we get into all of that, though, and just in case you’re in a hurry and are only interested in learning about products that can help you baby proof your refrigerator, here’s a quick look at our top tried and tested recommendations.
Best Products to Baby Proof your Refrigerator – A More Detailed Look at Our Top 4 Recommendations
Note: When clicking on any of the below links, you’ll go to the product listing pages on Amazon, where you can read further information, see current prices and read customer reviews.
- Child Safety Strap Locks for Fridge
- Adoric Sliding U Shaped Baby Safety Locks
- ToolsGold Refrigerator Lock with Combination
- Computer Security Products Refrigerator Door Lock With Padlock
Best Products to Baby Proof your Refrigerator – A More Detailed Look at Our Top 4 Recommendations
To baby proof your refrigerator, here’s a more detailed look into some of the best products out there on the market today that will get the job done.
Child Safety Strap Locks for Fridge
You can buy these straps if your plan is to add a latch to each of your refrigerator’s doors.
They’re super easy and straightforward to install (all you have to do is pull the tabs off the back and put into place), and you should have no problem opening whatsoever (if you’re an adult).
It comes with a flexible strap, which means you do not need to use any tools or screws during the installation process.
Once you want to take it off, you can easily do so without dealing any damage whatsoever to the appliance or piece of furniture it was on.
They are so good, that you’re not just stuck with using them on the fridge. As a matter of fact, you can also use them on cabinets as well if your kid just won’t keep of those.
Besides cabinets, you can also use this bad boy to child proof your:
- Washer machine
- Waste Bin
- And so on …
The adjustable locks can adjust from 3 inches all the way to 7 inches, which means they should be able to fit just about any size appliance and furniture you might want to baby proof around the house
The adhesion on these is so strong that if you forget you have one installed on the fridge and were to try to open the door, you’ll realize it’s there in an instant.
This thing will not move unless you disengage the lock.
To disengage the lock, all you need to do is slide a small button over to open and close the latch.
I also love that this latch can deter some children even when it isn’t completely locked, simply because it still looks like it is. Don’t rely on this too much, though, because if you have a smart kiddo that figures out it isn’t locked, this isn’t going to end well!
It’s available in a pack of 4 or a pack of 8.
Say goodbye to finding your little one leaving you with a surprise in the form of leaving the doors open since forever and the fridge in defrost mode!
Adoric Sliding U Shaped Baby Child Proof Safety Locks
This adjustable lock that comes with an extra-long U-shaped latch offers you maximum lock length of up to 5 inches on your refrigerator.
The fact that it’s an adjustable lock gives you flexibility to adjust it to different handles and configurations. This makes it versatile and suitable for different needs in different houses.
It’s specifically made for wide application, which means that it’s suitable for use on all kinds of mushroom shaped knobs and D-shaped or annular handles, including:
- Side-by-side refrigerators
- Storage doors
- And so on …
It’s very easy to install, and you don’t need to use any tools or drills to get it to work. All in all, installation should really not take anymore than a few seconds.
To open the fridge, you only need to squeeze both buttons at the same time to get it to unlock. This is easy and straightforward for adults to do, but is definitely difficult for babies to do.
For some parents with extra smart or curious toddlers who manage to get their way into anything they put their mind to, just in case your toddler figures it out, don’t worry about it.
All you have to do is place it higher on the handles where your little troublemaker can’t reach, and that should solve the problem.
That way you can still use it just fine and it should do what it’s meant to achieve, but you’re just not taking any chances by letting your toddler handle it if they manage to figure a way to undo it.
It doesn’t come with any adhesives, which means that you can conveniently remove the lock when you don’t want or need it anymore, without leaving any damage on the appliance it’s on or marks on the furniture it’s on.
It comes in a pack of 4 or a pack of 8.
ToolsGold Refrigerator Lock with Combination
If you’re specifically looking for a fridge lock that doesn’t require you to carry a key, whether that’s because you’re one to easily lose track of where you left them or you just don’t want to do with all that hassle, this might be the perfect alternative for you.
Installing is pretty easy and straightforward, and it comes with very clear instructions on how you can set your own code on the lock when using it for the very first time.
If you ever need to reset the code, that’s also easy and straightforward to do as well.
The dials are easy to move, which I know from previous experience with other dial mechanism locks can be very annoying at times if otherwise.
The only downside I can see to this dial lock is that once it’s unlocked, people around you can still see the code. You can’t move the dials again until you place the cable back in.
It would have been perfect if you could mess with the code and scramble the numbers once it’s unlocked, just so you don’t give it away.
All in all, though, I really like this lock.
It’s much better than most (if not all) the other similar locks for refrigerators on the market that are made out of plastic. Those ones aren’t too hard for your little one to disable – all they require to be disabled is an easily learned action. Monkey see, monkey do!
Computer Security Products Refrigerator Door Lock With Padlock
If you only want a child refrigerator door lock with a padlock and not something you’ll need to set up a code for, this is an excellent choice to consider.
The lock in and of itself isn’t anything too special, it’s just a normal lock, but the part that mounts to the fridge is beyond amazing – it’s some of the strongest stuff you’ll ever come across.
Once you have this set up on your fridge, you’re going to need a tank to take it off, so be sure you want it there for good!
If the other solutions don’t work anymore for your 4, 5, 6 or 7 year old anymore (as opposed to when they used to work for your then toddler), this is what you need to get.
Whether they’re now smart enough to work their way into breaking a child lock or are just strong enough to dismantle what used to work when they were younger, this is the fridge lock you need now.
Why Should I Babyproof the Refrigerator?
A refrigerator can be the cause of bumps, bruises, cuts, pinches, electrocution, burns from coolant chemicals and coils, as well as crushing.
It can also give your kid an upset stomach if they’re being extra naughty, and – in serious cases – even food poisoning.
As quoted in Safety, The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) estimates that there were more than 7,000 injuries to children under 18 years of age caused by refrigerators, and which were eventually treated in hospital.
This figure excludes other minor refrigerator-related accidents that did not require hospital care.
Refrigerators can also present an entrapment hazard.
By design, refrigerators are airtight when closed. If a child ends up entrapped inside, they will not have sufficient oxygen to survive.
This was especially a risk with older refrigerators where the doors closed from the outside. Old refrigerators discarded in the open still present such a hazard.
Modern refrigerators can be opened from the inside, but if your child is still young and does not have enough strength to do so, suffocation becomes a possibility and risk.
The risk of refrigerator injury or death can only be reduced with parental effort.
Childproofing your refrigerator using a bar or lock restricts access to the appliance. Doors that lead to areas where storage refrigerators or freezers are kept should remain locked.
At the end of the day, the main advice for all parents remains the same: to supervise your little one at all times to prevent opportunities for injury.
How to Childproof the Refrigerator
Some toddlers and young children are, by nature, extremely attracted to refrigerators and their contents.
My three-year-old had a tendency to yank the door open and help herself to anything that tickles her fancy. We’ve had to pull away everything from her, from chocolate to a raw sausage!
Finding a foolproof way of securing the refrigerator became imperative. So, I’m sharing what I’ve learned from being there and doing all of that.
To make your refrigerator child safe, you need to:
- Secure the fridge and freezer doors
- Lock the water and ice dispenser
- Remove hazardous magnets
- Clean underneath it
- Ensure it cannot tipple
There are various ways and methods you can follow to babyproof your refrigerator, and this depends on the model you have in your home.
Here’s a more detailed explanation for each of the steps involved in the process.
Securing Refrigerator Doors
Here are the options available for securing your refrigerator doors.
Safety Strap Locks
This kind of lock is made up of an extendable strap and can be attached to the side of the fridge and the door to prevent unwanted opening.
This kind of lock usually comes with a safe adhesive that does not damage the refrigerator.
They’re easy for the grownups to unlatch, but not so much for the kids, so that’s a win!
A U-shaped bar is placed on refrigerator handles to lock them in place.
This does not require the use of any adhesive, so you can rest assured that the appliance does not end up damaged for the sake of preventing access to it from your child.
This lock will only work on specific fridge handles, though.
Lock Strap With Code
If your little one’s a budding Indiana Jones who manages to overcome every obstacle on his course towards the prize, then a lock that can only be opened when you successfully enter a code is the way to go!
Once he does manage to crack the code (if that ever happens), then you simply generate a new one and leave him guessing again.
A traditional latch can also work wonders on your fridge.
Latches for refrigerators come with strong adhesive tape to prevent damage to the appliance. All you have to do is attach it to the fridge doors at a height that your little one cannot reach.
I know, babyproofing can be quite unsightly! Luckily, there are lock options that don’t look hideous on your brand new refrigerator.
The adhesive lock safely secures fridge doors and drawers. Some models also feature an anti-pinch element to ensure that no little fingers get stuck in fridge doors.
Some kids manage to get through any lock. If that sounds like your kid, then a padlock will ensure this doesn’t happen.
This kind of fridge lock attaches to the side of the fridge and the door, with a traditional padlock in the middle.
Childproofing Refrigerator Water and Ice Dispensers
Water and ice dispensers not only hold a high mess potential, but also present a risk if a child gets to them.
Luckily, most models have an inbuilt child lock. Check your user manual for instructions on activating it.
Don’t worry about it if you didn’t hold on to the user manual back when you bought your fridge, though. A lot of us are guilty of this, and it’s not the end of the world.
Google the brand and model number of your refrigerator, and you should find the respective manual relatively quickly.
If you don’t find anything on the internet, you can always contact the manufacturer for help.
If your refrigerator does not come with a lock feature for the dispenser, you can opt to cover the area with a magnetic sheet when not in use.
It’s not the most beautiful or handy of hacks, but it sure keeps the messes and potential slipping at bay!
Refrigerator Magnet Hazard
Now that you’ve got the fridge double doors and water dispenser all sorted out and childproofed, it’s time to sort out an often overlooked item: magnets.
If your refrigerator is anything like ours, it’s full of school notifications, appointment reminders, countless (useless) chore charts, and a photo or two to remind you why you love your messy munchkins so much.
Before the kids came into the picture, our refrigerator was also home to the many magnets we collected from our travels. Most of these broke easily into dangerous shards and had to rest in storage the second our eldest began crawling.
Magnets, especially smaller ones, present a high choking hazard to kids. The magnetic part also inflicts considerable damage if swallowed. Old magnets also tend to fall off without a second’s notice.
Opt for larger, yet lightweight, magnets to stick only what you really need stuck to the fridge.
Yes, that wedding invitation from two years ago is a great reminder of what a great time you all had, but it’s high time it went in the recycling bin (or a memory box, if you must).
We found that large alphabet letters which use a magnetic sheet, rather than those tiny magnetic buttons, work best for us. It’s also a daily opportunity to learn some new words!
Childproofing Underneath the Refrigerator
As with sofas, plenty of items hide in the tiny space underneath the fridge and on its sides.
Check this space often for strewn miscellaneous items – you’d be surprised at the kind of ‘treasure’ that lurks within!
Prevent Refrigerator From Falling Over
In our house, some tantrums occur while hanging on to refrigerator handles. For our own sanity, I’d like to think we’re not the only ones to go through this!
Such behavior means it’s very important that parents ensure their refrigerator(s) cannot tipple easily.
Consider tethering the refrigerator to the wall using an appliance anchor compatible with the refrigerator model you own.
The Take Away
Child proofing your home is a necessary parenting step which, even though we all agree is not fun, remains an absolute must.
Regardless of how hard you try at keeping an eye on your little one every single minute, kids can end up in trouble in a split of a second.
Your refrigerator is a focus item in your kitchen – it holds things your little one potentially loves, and an adventure waiting to be embarked upon.
A child’s interest in this mighty appliance is understandable, but your babyproofing efforts must be on point to keep all the risks we talked about above at bay.
The babyproofing tools you should use will depend on the refrigerator model you own, your personal preferences, as well as your little one’s dexterity.
At the end of the day, there’s no one size fits all solution for everybody out there alike – for many parents, babyproofing the refrigerator is a trial and error process, and that’s totally fine.
We hope that this article provided you with sufficient information to achieve an ‘eureka’ moment at first try!
P.S: cute photos stuck to the refrigerator are a great antidote to counteract the frustration of preparing the millionth snack for the day – take it from me!