French doors are a great addition to homes; even better when they open out onto a beautiful landscape garden. In the winter, French doors offer great insulation while providing you with a frost-kissed view of your lawn. In summer, open your French doors wide and let in the sound and smells that the summer months have to offer; they’re a great way to let nature into your home.
Installing external French doors isn’t an easy task, and when you have toddlers running around, it can make the task more challenging. If you haven’t installed your doors yet, take a look at our guide on How to Install External French Doors. After installation, come back here, and we’ll discuss efficient ways for you to childproof your doors.
How Do I Child-proof My External French Doors?
With or without children, we all know the dangers that doors present to those tiny fingers and toes. Running around is all a part of the fun for small children, and we don’t want that fun to end in disaster.
The most common hazards with French doors are:
- Trapping fingers or toes in a closing door
- Opening the door unassisted
- Hiding behind a door that is being opened
- Falling through the glass inserts
- Tripping over the threshold
These issues we cannot bear to think about, but unfortunately, they’re very common with external French doors. Now that we’ve outlined the issues that can occur, let’s look at how we can prevent them:
Trapping fingers or toes in a closing door
The most efficient and affordable way to prevent children from trapping their fingers or toes in a door is to install a door guard.
A door guard is a foam, often U-shaped, material that can be clipped to the door’s internal edge or top edge. This guard allows the door to bounce away from the frame and prevents it from completely closing.
As the guard is clipped onto the door, it’s easy to remove so you won’t have a door that is unable to close for the duration of the door’s life.
Opening the door unassisted
Every parent’s worst nightmare is their child opening an external door and getting outside without being supervised. While this is exceptionally true for doors on the front of the property, it can also be a concern for back doors, too.
French doors open and close like any other door so, to prevent children from getting outside unassisted, we’d advise that you get a door chain installed. Alternatively, you can get a device that fits over the door handle to prevent children from being able to pull it downwards. The only issue with these solutions is that you need to drill into your door.
If putting holes in the centre of your door isn’t for you, try installing a top door lock. Yes, you’ll still need to drill holes into your door; however, this can be a lock that you keep on your door for its lifetime, and not just when your children are young. If you want to remove the top door lock, the holes won’t be noticed as they’re so high up the door’s edges.
Hiding behind a door that is being opened
Yes, this can be a simple “Hey kid, don’t hide behind the door” but, if your child is playing inside, you can’t constantly be supervising them every second of every day.
If your child is hiding behind a door and the door is opened, they could get a nasty bump to the face or body. Luckily with external French doors, they typically have glass inserts so this shouldn’t be a problem; however, if you don’t have glass inserts, or your inserts are frosted, this is definitely something you should think about.
As a quick solution, we’d advise securing a device to the wall that prevents it from hitting the wall when fully opened. If your French doors open outwards, you can secure the same device to the external wall of your property.
Falling through the glass inserts
The majority of external French doors have glass inserts. These are great for bringing the outdoors in, and creating the feeling of a larger room; however, glass is a hazard for young children, especially when they’re running around.
For starters, invest in external French doors that use toughened glass or are triple glazed; this will drastically reduce the risk of the glass breaking.
If you want to be extra cautious, install an external door baby gate. This is used in the same way that a stair gate is used; however, it’s adhered to the door (or propped up against it) to prevent children from getting too close to the door.
Tripping over the threshold
Some external French doors can be raised in comparison to the external ground. While this isn’t a major issue, small children can easily fall if the height is too high for little legs, or if they’re attempting to get out on their own and trip over the threshold.
Of course, the easiest way to prevent your child from tripping is to accompany them; although if that can’t always be doable, we’d advise that you keep your French doors closed, or a baby gate installed across the width of the door frame to prevent them from getting out in the first place.
The only way to stop your child from hurting themselves when trying to get outside is to simply accompany them until they’re big enough to do it themselves.
If you’re concerned that your child will still fall over and injure themselves, even when they’re old, we’d advise setting up a softer landing outside your external doors. This could be by laying grass outside, using a doormat, or even putting down a foam mat until they’re old enough to be more cautious.