As a parent you are always learning new things at every stag of your children’s life. One of the first things we learn once your kids start crawling is to make everything in the house child proof from your waists down. Things like trash cans, plug-ins and the cabinet under the sink that contain cleaners and other poisons. Then when they start getting even bigger and start climbing on furniture you then realize that the whole house needs child proofing, at least medicine cabinets and things of that nature. Now by this time you have probably tried many different types of child proof cabinet locks or you are reading this trying to prepare for the future and trying to find the best ones so you don’t have to buy more than one type. In either case you are in luck, in this article we will be talking about the one type of child proof cabinet locks that not only work great but look great too, the reason for this is because they can’t be seen. The name of this lock is the Safety 1st Tot-Lok.
Choosing the Best Child Proof Cabinet Locks
What is so great about the Tot-Lok? Well if you read many reviews of this product you will see two very different Credit: Amazon.comopinions of these locks. One group of people that absolutely love them and others that think they are a great idea but poor design. Well as someone that has personally installed them and has had them in their home for over three years now I can tell you that they are great. First as mentioned before these locks can not been seen from the outside of the cabinets or drawers which was a big deal for my wife and I because no one wants to see those sliding locks that fit over the cabinet handles all over the kitchen, plus those do not work very well on drawers. Second these locks don’t work like spring action locks that let the door open a few inches so they can be pressed down. In our opinion these were not even an option because as anyone with kids will tell you they can get into anything given enough time. So how does the Tot-Lok work? It works a lot like a screen door latch. It has two parts one that mounts to the frame of the cabinet or drawer and the other that mounts to the door itself. It looks a lot like the latch on a screen door and works the same as well. When the door is closed the latch on the door locks into the piece mounted to the frame. To unlock it you simply place the included magnet which is very strong on the outside of the door where the lock is located, you will hear a click and then you open the door. Then when you are done you can store the magnet on the fridge or any place that it will not get lost. It’s that simple. And if you are going to be getting in a specific cabinet more than once there is a switch that keeps the lock from locking.
Now as nice as all this sounds there is one disadvantage to these locks and that is the installation. It is very time consuming and tedious. It also requires you to drill holes into your cabinets for two reasons. The first is that the locks are mounted with screws which isn’t that big of a deal but the second reason is you must drill a 9/32 hole into but not through the cabinet door. At first this sounds like a really bad idea and I have to admit that I was a little nervous but after reading the instructions didn’t think it sounded very hard. The kit comes with a drill stop that fits over the drill bit keeping you from drilling past the point you have it set at. So you measure your cabinet door thickness subtract an 1/8” or more if want then set the drill stop to that measurement. Just follow the directions that come with the kit. The reason for this hole is that there is a small metal piece that slides into the hole getting it closer to the magnet so the lock can be opened. Other wise the door would be too thick for the magnet to penetrate or you would need a much bigger and more powerful magnet, which reminds me, if your cabinet doors are much thicker than an 11/4” these locks will probably not work for you.
Tips on Installing Child Proof Cabinet Locks
After reading some of the negative reviews that others have written on Amazon I decided I should add some tips that I used when I installed our locks that if used would probably have helped those people. Tip number one is one Credit: Amazon.comis something I did that helped my nerves about drilling through the door and that is putting duct tape around the drill stop and the bottom unused side of the drill bit, so it couldn’t slip. This seemed to help especially when I was changing out drill bits every few minutes as I went from door to door drilling and tapping holes for the screws. Another tip that would have help a lot of people that locked themselves out of their cabinet is to mount the door piece first and make sure that when you place the magnet on the outside of the door it opens the locking mechanism. If it’s not you will have to drill the hole a little deeper, just slightly adjust the drill stop and re-drill. A word of caution, always make sure you are not going to drill through the door. The last tip I have is give yourself plenty of time. Depending on how many doors and drawers you have this is going to take a while. The estimated time it took me to do four of our cabinet doors was close to two hours but I was measuring everything three and four times so that I wouldn’t mess it up.
Despite being a little frustrating to install we would buy the Safety 1st Tot-Lok again. It is built well, looks good and does what the company says it does. And as far as my kids getting in the cabinets, it hasn’t happened yet. I figure even when they are old enough to know how to open them as long as I hide the magnet there is no way they will get inside. Overall these are the best child proof cabinet locks I have ever used.