Child safety lock

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A child safety lock is a special-purpose device for locking cabinets, drawers, bottles, etc. to prevent children from getting at the dangerous contents. Young children are naturally curious about their surroundings and will always explore, but as they do not have knowledge of dangerous substances or situations, the results can be fatal. Numerous cases of poisoning have resulted from toddlers 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 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

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[1].


Child safety locks are also built into some cars to prevent children from opening the doors during transit; vehicles have been built with this feature since the early 1980s. The lock is typically engaged via a small switch in the side of the door such that the switch is hidden when the door is closed. While it is locked, the passenger door cannot be opened from the inside. Some vehicles implement window-locking mechanisms as well.