looking for toddler safety advice

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pico83's picture
Joined: 09/06/06
Posts: 3014
looking for toddler safety advice

Now that it's getting warmer, our kitchen door is always open, leaving just a screen-type door between my just-turned-2-year-old and the outdoors. The latch is one of those really simple push ones and it's only a matter of time before he opens it and lets himself out. The door opens onto a deck (which is pretty safe) but if he goes down the steps he's on the driveway near the road. It's not a busy road, but still, I don't want him in it! I could keep the kitchen door closed, but it's not realistic with a 5 year old and an almost 4 year old who are in and out all day on their way to play in the yard. Obviously, I need to keep a close eye on the 2 year old and keep him in unless I'm with him. But, I'm worried about the one time he falls through the cracks for a moment (likely during one of my numerous bathroom trips, courtesy of coming baby #4).
We do have two other doors to the outside. The front door goes right to the street, so we can't switch to using that one. The other goes to the backyard, but is heavy and swings closed hard and pinches fingers. To top it all off, we're renting, so we can't just replace the door.
Any advice on how to either secure the door so the older two can get in and out but he can't? Or any other clever solution?

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

Having lost a grandson from this very problem, I'd solve it TODAY! I'd get the landlord on it, tell him you'll do the work. He can't replace a 2 year old, so he'd better replace the door so that you can change your habits. Then figure out what kind of system will actually work for you. There is no way you can be all eyes- all of the time.

pico83's picture
Joined: 09/06/06
Posts: 3014

I'm not taking this lightly. I know I need to find a solution as soon as possible, the problem is, I'm not sure what the best solution is. After some additional research, replacing the door wouldn't help. There just aren't safety latches designed for what we need. Tomorrow I'm going to make sure the older boys start closing the wooden door behind themselves (DS3 hasn't figured out doorknobs yet and it's a tough one to turn). I think if everyone makes sure that door gets closed and we all keep an eye on DS3 it should work. But I'll keep looking for an even better solution. So, if anyone has one, please share!

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

Shut it with a very high hook and have them use the door bell EVERY TIME.

jhj
Joined: 08/06/11
Posts: 360

Could you put a gate on the stairs on the deck? That way if he does get out, at least there is a second safety gate to keep him on the deck until you can get there?

-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

We installed a high up hook like gardenbug is recommending . It gives me peace of mind. It is a bit of a hassle to let the other people in and out, but it's worth not worrying all the time. I hope you can figure something out.

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

I hope you get a latch that's high up yesterday. We have the same issue with our front door, but it has a latch that holds the screen door closed at about our eye level and is rather stiff, so that none of them can open the door without us knowing about it. We also have a burglar alarm (not hooked up to any service), but about a year ago Leo started pushing the buttons and now it beeps whenever anyone opens our outside doors. At first we were annoyed by the sound, but now we are quite happy to know if the front or back door has been opened when we are in a different part of the house!

Please get a lock, but even more so, make sure your older kids know that they cannot go outside without you knowing (just so you know the door isn't locked), and that they are forbidden to let your the 2yo out! And then, it is never too early to teach your 2yo that he is not allowed on the road! Some 2yo understand better than others. Ivy was good at 18mo. Leo, not until the past couple months (2.5yo), and still not great.