How to Childproof Bifold Doors
If you are a parent of young children you are probably learning how to childproof every part of your home, including the bi-fold doors. There are numerous reasons to keep children out of the closets where laundry supplies and cleaning chemicals may be stored. However, the doors themselves are also dangerous. Babies may pinch their fingers in the gap between door panels while opening or closing the door. The installation of a simple bifold door child lock can prevent this tragedy.
Step 1 – Count Bifold Doors
Run through your house quickly to determine how many childproofing locks you will need. The bifold door child locks are generally sold as one-size-fits-all. However, you need a single lock for each folding half, or two locks per closet.
Step 2 – Try Plastic Slider Locks
Plastic slider locks are available online or in stores for about $5 each. This type of childproofing locks consists of a plastic cap and a spacer with interlocking grooves. The spacer can be flipped and adjusted to fit the slider lock to different door widths. To engage the lock, close the bifold door and move the slider to the middle of the door joint. This prevents the joint from bending and the door cannot be opened until the slider is removed. These sliders also come with a plastic extension wand for tall doors or short people.
Step 3 – Try Hook and Latch
The plastic childproof slider locks are not necessarily suitable for every type of bifold door. Additionally, you may find them to be overpriced considering the simplicity of the design. If your doors are slightly skewed, you might have to obtain a deeper lock. Also, you might find it hard to adjust the slider on thick doors. Finally, the childproofing slider lock might not be compatible with some types of bifold door mounting.
Buyers of the plastic locks have reported problems on doors that with wheels on top that slide in a railed track. If the plastic slider doesn’t work for you, try installing a hook and latch instead. Use the same setup that you would employ to latch a yard gate. Install the latch directly in front of the bifold joint. If installed correctly the bifold door will not bend open when the knob is pulled. Installing latches on the top prevents children from reaching them but may not hold the bottom of the doors as tightly. Also, consider using a wooden board and pegs to latch the door.
Step 4 – Inspect Locks Regularly
The childproofing locks cannot prevent accidents unless they are engaged. Bifold doors may be carelessly left unlocked by guests. Check your locks regularly to make sure that they still work. When your children are grown, remove the childproofing locks and donate, discard or give them away.