French doors offer an excellent means of opening up an interior. They consist of a set of double doors, and generally feature one or more glass panels, which help light to spread around a home and, and serve to maximise the sense of space.
So why might French doors + children = a problem? And how can you create child proof French doors?
If you have small children at home (or visiting regularly), French doors have the potential to cause harm – especially when curious fingers go wandering into the space between the frame and side of the door. Childproofing doors should be a key concern.
Trapped appendages can cause tears (and in some cases even a visit to A&E) so it’s worth taking steps to childproof your French doors. This is even more important if your French doors are situated in a draughty area of the house, where a strong gust of wind might cause them to suddenly slam shut.
Another reason you might want to childproof French doors (or any doors, for that matter) is to prevent your child from moving from one side of a door to another. If your French doors open into an office, bedroom or other out-of-bounds area, you might want to fit the interior of the door with a lock.
In contrast to single doors, double doors cannot be locked into the frame – and must instead be locked into the floor or ceiling. If your internal French doors aren’t equipped with the means to do that, however, then never fear – parents have had to contend with explorative toddlers for a long while now, and they’ve come up with many clever DIY childproofing solutions as a result.
By the same token, many small (and large) businesses have come up with professional-grade inventions to minimise the risk of a child being harmed by a door – child proof door locks are just one example.
How Can I Childproof My French doors with door stops?
Perhaps the most obvious way of child-proofing a door is to place some object in front of it – either to prevent it from opening, or to prevent it from closing.
In the latter instance, any sufficiently heavy object will do – weights with soft edges can be purchased for very little cost, and they’ll reduce the chances of your child coming into contact with a pointy edge at floor level.
If you want to wedge a door open or shut, a wedge-shaped door stop will do the trick.
Alternatively you can invest in a purpose made child safe door stopper.
Childproof your French doors with pinch guards
A pinch guard is designed to prevent your child from trapping their hands in a door. It consists of a u-shaped piece of foam, plastic or rubber that sits around the edge of a door, preventing it from properly closing (and therefore from closing on your child’s hands).
As well as protecting fingers and thumbs, a pinch guard offers another bonus: it will prevent the door from slamming. Unfortunately since this will stop the door in question from closing properly, it’s suitable only for areas of the house that you want your child to be able to have access to. It should not, for example, be fitted to a front or back door.
Still not confident your French doors are sufficiently childproof?
Then you might consider using a ‘door monkey’, or similar device.
What is a door monkey?
Door monkeys not only prevent a door from closing, but they prevent it from opening, too – creating an obstacle but still allowing fresh air to flow through your home. It’ll withstand around twenty kilos of force – plenty enough, in other words, to prevent a child from opening or closing the door.
Childproof your French doors with handle covers
A child’s brain is an amazing thing. It quickly builds new connections in response to its interactions with the world around it, rapidly learning how to apply the right twists, prods and pulls in order to achieve the desired outcome. Since they learn so quickly, it can be difficult for parents to stay ahead of the game – especially as you might not be around when they make their next breakthrough.
A simple door handle, for example, might prove an insurmountable obstacle one day, and then literal child’s play the next.
Lever-style door handles are easier for a child to figure out than doorknobs, but either can be overcome.
You can use a special door knob cover to make your door handles more childproof. Door handle safety covers come in a number of forms, but most are built to work only when a certain combination of pressure is applied.
Some thrifty parents have gone as far as to build their own door knob covers out of cardboard, which sits loosely around the knob and simply twists uselessly unless sufficient force is applied. We think it’s worth investing a few pounds in a professional child safety door knob cover – it’ll provide you with a little extra peace of mind, and it’ll look considerably better, too.
Another alternative is to swap your door handles for child proof door knobs.
While each of these child safety devices has its plus points, there are two drawbacks shared by each of them. They each cost money, and they each have an impact on the way your home looks. The exact impact will depend on the product in question. Whichever your preferred option, you’ll want to consider how much use you’re going to get from it. All children are different – something you’ll want to account for when making your decision.
When considering how to child-proof your door, your first concern should be ensuring that the door isn’t going to injure your child. After that objective has been achieved, you’ll want to also consider another factor – your own convenience.