Tell me the worst babyproof door knob cover

Photo of three competing brands of babyproof door knob protectors.

My¬† rambunctious almost 2-year-old son learned to climb out of his crib a couple months ago. We put him in a toddler bed, which is great, except he feels no need stay in bed once he’s alone in his room.

There is one other small problem. He easily defeats the baby-proof plastic bulb gadget on his door knob. He grabs it with the full width of his hand from the side and pulls down. The door is often open in less than 10 seconds, and we don’t always hear it through our baby monitor.

No measure of discipline has worked, owing partly to his age and partly because with his not talking, it’s difficult to know what’s going on inside his head.

Bedtime now includes Dad lying on the floor next to Son until Son, or the both of us, fall asleep. For the first five minutes Son tries to ascertain whether Dad is still in the room and/or he fidgets to stay awake, causing Dad to give frequently instructions such as, “Son, put your head down,” “Son, close your eyes,” and so forth. Thankfully, the process is usually over within 10 minutes.

What really concerns me is the potential for my son to be wandering around the house unattended in the middle of the night or before we’ve woken in the morning.

My current escape management technique is to remove the baby monitor in his room from its recharging base and to strategically place it in near the inside edge of his bedroom door. When he climbs out of bed, he walks straight toward the glowing light, picks up the monitor, and tries in vain to put the misplaced monitor back on its charging station — because I’m blessed with one obsessive compulsive little guy.

His little hands running over the monitor’s microphone is more than enough to wake me.

This is all well and good, but what I really need is a ridiculously frustrating babyproof door knob gadget. By that I mean a gadget that makes it so difficult to open a door that parents hate the product because it’s parentproof. Perhaps a Thinga-reader has returned a lousy baby-proof door knob cover to a store, declaring them pure unadulterated evil. That’s the product I want to buy.

Defeated: Safety 1st Grip ‘N Twist (sold at Target and K-mart)

Defeated: Mommy’s Helper Door Knob Cover

Untested: Kidco Door Knob Lock

My son pushes the knob covers against the door knob and pulls down, essentially using the cover as a grip for the knob. I need a knob cover that doesn’t allow that to happen, or perhaps I need to retool all of the doors in my home with a less susceptible knob.


36 Responses to “Tell me the worst babyproof door knob cover”

  1. Michelle says:

    Our house pre-dates building standards requiring doorknobs be at wheelchair height, so this has never been an issue for us. It may seem a little bit crude, but what about putting a latch on the outside of his door at a height that he can’t reach? If you’re not quite sure what I mean, I was thinking of something like this:
    It’s reasonably kid-proof, yet would be easy for you to release in the event of an emergency.

    March 9th, 2010 at 3:57 am

  2. Josh says:

    Skip the doorknob locks, leave the door ajar, and use a baby gate. That also has the advantage that you can stand outside it and assure your son that you are there while he falls asleep, while assuring an easy exit.

    March 9th, 2010 at 4:06 am

  3. cjsmom says:

    Leave the baby monitor but flip your doorknob so the lock is on the outside. Safer to be locked in his room then out roaming the house at night. At least that way he is contained to his babyproof room.

    March 9th, 2010 at 5:39 am

  4. anastasiav says:

    I would not recommend an “adult-proof” knob. In case of an emergency YOU want to be able to open the door without having to think about it.

    What worked for us was buying an extra-tall baby gate (one made for the top of the stairs, actually) and putting it up in his doorway (instead of shutting the door). Because the one we used was designed for stairs, it was “walk through” vs. “climb over” which was nice. It was also eye height on my (very tall) son, so he never attempted to climb over it.

    I have a friend who installed a simple hook and eye latch very high up on the *outside* of the door, and she just hooks the door closed when she leaves at night.

    We have always had to lay down with my son while he goes to sleep, and its the best part of my day (he sleeps in a double bed, though, so I can lie down on the bed with him). Know any songs? Making a routine of singing during those ten or fifteen minutes elicits a real Pavlovian response, over time. They hear the start of the song and conk right out.

    March 9th, 2010 at 6:09 am

  5. Bri says:

    I agree with the baby gate solution but if he ever does stop playing with the monitior, my friends used to put bells above the door so when it was opened they could hear the door, they also had an escape artist

    March 9th, 2010 at 6:35 am

  6. Mark says:

    Just do what we did (assuming the door knob has a button lock on it)–remove the entire handle and reverse it so that the lock is on the hallway side. Yes, it’s a little strange that we locked our toddler in the room at night, but after a week or so she never even bothers trying the door, so we just leave it unlocked.

    March 9th, 2010 at 6:43 am

  7. Jim Nutt says:

    We just put a hook and eye lock on the outside of the door at the highest level his mother could comfortably reach. The door knob covers are useless, a smart 2-3 year old can figure out how to take them off in no time (my nephew followed his mom around the house doing that as she was putting them on). We also use locks to keep him out of rooms he’s not supposed to be in, although that’s harder because he will build a “ladder” out of whatever he can find (which is why the locks are so high!). We lock him in his room at night, if we let him wander we’d come downstairs to find him making himself breakfast.

    March 9th, 2010 at 6:56 am

  8. Lis says:

    We put a new door handle on with the lock on the outside. We only had to lock it 2 nights and just unlocked it after he was asleep (nighttime roaming wasn’t an issue). He got the hint real quick.

    March 9th, 2010 at 7:36 am

  9. mallfellow says:

    You could always install a door knob with the simple push button lock (keyless – you push a nail into a hole on the ‘outside’ of the knob to unlock it) backwards. That way, you could lock the door when he goes to sleep but it would be super easy to open the door in case of emergency (as opposed to having to unhook a latch).

    We had a similar issue with our 2 year old son but it more an issue with him not understanding that it wasn’t time to get up. We ended up getting a toddler clock that changes color – yellow when it’s time to get up and blue when it’s time to sleep (whether it’s nap time or bed time) – that solved our problem. He loves ‘his’ clock and, around bed time, will run into his room to see what color ‘tickity tock’ is and announce whether or not it’s time for milk & stories.

    March 9th, 2010 at 7:42 am

  10. Allison says:

    Our son’s room is on a different floor from ours and we had the same fears about him wandering around at night.

    The solution we came up with is a very loud electronic door chime that sounds when he opens the door. It can be heard anywhere in the house and wakes us even when the monitor in his room doesn’t.

    March 9th, 2010 at 8:37 am

  11. AJ says:

    Very interesting responses so far, thanks.

    A baby gate is out. The door is at the end of a hallway nub, sort of L shaped, but with a very small base on the L. The only place a gate could be affixed would still allow my son access to all of our bedrooms. The rest of the hallway just has a bathroom and a really wide storage closet (accordion door). He’s also in the process of learning to climb the one gate we do use.

    The hook-and-eye-lock idea scares me. Our son is really strong, managing to strip screws (even pieces that were glued in) in his crib by ferociously shaking his crib. When faced with a door that opens a little bit, I think he would bang the door back and force until he rips the lock off the door. Sure, we would wake up long before then, but after a few weeks, there would be door damage.

    I like the idea of reversing the door knob so the lock is on the outside (well, sort of. It’s more work than slapping on a plastic gadget!) and also placing bells above the door.

    My wife wanted to find a traveler’s alarm, the sort you hang on a hotel door knob. It emits a horrendous shriek when it’s jostled the least little bit. Her idea is, umm, make him morbidly fearful of door knobs I guess. I admit it would probably work.

    Allison, could you explain the electronic door chime a little more?

    March 9th, 2010 at 8:38 am

  12. Katie says:

    I live in dread of the day my 2 year old learns how to open a door by herself, since a closed door is my main way of containing her rambunctious destructiveness to the same room I am occupying. I am discouraged to hear that door locks don’t always work, since my plan was to go and get a bunch of them whenever she figured the door knobs out. I will definitely be watching to see how it turns out for you.

    March 9th, 2010 at 8:41 am

  13. Erin says:

    We also had that problem. I solved it by putting the baby gate in the doorway of his room. Now I just hear “mommmmmmmm, mommmyyyyyy… mooooooommm” for about 10 minutes and then he gives up and takes a few books from the bookshelf to occupy his time until mom is ready for him. :)

    March 9th, 2010 at 9:04 am

  14. AnneK says:


    When we had similar issues with our “little explorer” we found sound to be a great deterrent. In Sarah’s case, we used a baby gate that had a string of sleigh bells attached. It was loud enough to a) wake us, b) tell her she had done something inappropriate, while c) not scaring her to death. The bells are cheap and easy to hang on a door (which would also keep them safely out of kiddo’s reach). The bells allowed it to become a behavioral training solution: she would wake up, crawl out, ring the bells, and we would calmly put her back in her bed. I can’t remember how long it went on — probably three months. We did keep up the system until potty training time (as we did not want to discourage bathroom visits).

    I hope this helps!


    March 9th, 2010 at 10:51 am

  15. Rob V. says:

    I am sure you are considering what time they are getting out of bed . . . our first son decided that 5:30am was the time to get up. It lasted about 3 weeks until he learned the number “7″ and when his clock showed the “7″ in the right spot, he could get up – and get us up. This solution was MUCH cheaper than the “toddler clock,” but took some time investment to teach him the numbers.

    As far as bedtime routines, I agree with Anastasiav about Pavlov responses, but we have a much shorter routine as we have had more kids – two books in bed, say prayers, turn on some music (to drown out sounds of the house/neighborhood) and lights off. No doors open, no nightlights. The dark offers the best Pavlovic response.

    Our kids have always opened the doors. Other than the front door, I would think your house is kid proof and rather boring for a 2 year old without parents or sister up . . . he’ll learn quickly.


    March 9th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

  16. Scholle says:

    Our son learned how to climb out of his crib at 2 1/2. He was tall and could also easily open doors–including the front door. The door gadgets never worked on anyone except us.

    We put a chain on the front door because we were terrified he’d wander outside without us realizing. (This happened to a classmate; his parents got a visit from Child Protective Services!)

    To keep him in his bedroom at night, we locked his door. But this was only necessary for a few nights. He quickly understood that he had to stay in bed. It was not a problem again. (He’s 6 now.)

    March 9th, 2010 at 1:11 pm

  17. LooneyJen says:

    Flipping the doorknob is an excellent way to help. It also prevents the possibility that he’ll lock himself in. My very complacent first born did this several times when she was your son’s age…. I FEAR for when my second born gets to that age.

    March 9th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

  18. Rachel says:

    We also flipped the doorknob. After a week it was no longer needed as he quit trying to get out. Now his sister locks him in for fun, but’s that another issue altogether.

    March 9th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

  19. Melissa says:

    Agree with the reverse the lock people.

    March 9th, 2010 at 4:51 pm

  20. Angelique says:

    Elecronic door/window chimes/sirens can be found at your local big-box home improvement store. I have some shriekers on the windows in my boys’ room. Using adhesive, one small piece attaches to the frame and the other to the door. When the unit is switched to on, as soon as the door opens, the magnetic field between the two units is broken and the unit alarms. The whole unit is about the size of a pager, if anyone actually remembers what those look like anymore…

    March 9th, 2010 at 7:08 pm

  21. Mags says:

    With my younger twin brother and sister, my mom reversed the lock. That was to keep them out of her bed or mine, our bedrooms were all upstairs and we had a gate at the top. This worked after they used the same method your son did to beat those door locks. Of course, you should use a hook and eye lock if your doorknob doesn’t have the easy button lock.

    March 9th, 2010 at 7:59 pm

  22. Jaclyn Rubly says:

    I have yet to find a “good” one and I have 4 under 4.

    By the way, I love your website. Would you like to be a contributing author for Mom Affiliated?

    March 9th, 2010 at 10:30 pm

  23. Maria says: has tons of models or door chimes. Wireless, adjustable volume, etc.

    March 9th, 2010 at 11:05 pm

  24. Monique says:

    My son climbed the child proof gate we placed in his doorway. We used bells, that helped for a while but mostly when he came out of his room, he just wanted to be with us.

    March 10th, 2010 at 8:28 am

  25. Allison says:


    The door chime we have is like this one, I guess technically it is an entry alert chime.

    We installed the magnetic sensor up at the top of his door and then have the receiver plugged in out in the hall.

    We did have to put up with a couple of days when he thought it was novel to open and shut the door to hear the chime but that wore off pretty quick.

    March 10th, 2010 at 9:04 am

  26. Dallas says:

    While the reverse doorknob this is a good idea, I’ve always been a little leery of it. I just don’t like the idea of locking in my child. (Of course, she’s about to be 3, and that idea is looking better everyday…)

    I would go with the alarm thingy. Also, you may want to consider a doorstop, those triangular shaped wedges that you poke under the door. That way, he isn’t *really* locked in, but he can’t open the door (assuming his door opens outward?)

    We are about to go through this, since the toddler bed is being shipped. I’m interested in hearing the other suggestions.

    Now, who has a solution for the jumping on the bed problem???

    March 10th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

  27. Elizabeth W. says:

    One word of caution on the reverse door lock. Make sure it is the kind you can unlock with a key or paper clip and keep that tool on a nail above the door inside his room. How hilarious would it be to lock DADDY in the room? Plenty funny to him, not so funny to you maybe…

    March 10th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

  28. Michele says:

    We use the pictured Kidco Door Knob Lock. We have successfully been using this device for about 1 yr. Originally we used the 2nd knob but our escape artist figured out how to get out in no time flat. He either cannot get out with the Kidco on or he has just given up. Either way it works for us! I do like that fact that with the center cover, he is unable to lock the door on us. Good luck in your search!

    March 10th, 2010 at 10:08 pm

  29. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Our son can get out with the door knob covers on (He learned how within a month ofputting them on). However, we still use the covers — they do slow him down, and remind him this is not a door he is supposed to be opening. For example, he doesn’t come into our room anymore unless we have the door open.

    March 11th, 2010 at 10:30 am

  30. Tiffany says:

    Hey, mallfellow, I have that clock! And we got it for the same reason- my son would literally show up in our room at 0530, having actually managed to (mostly) put on the clothes we’d left out for the next morning, and ask for breakfast. It wasn’t that he really wanted to be up, he just didn’t understand it wasn’t time yet. And that TotClock worked like a champ! He’s even learning to tell time because of it.
    But on the doorknob issue, my brother actually had the doorknob/lock on his door reversed until he was in middle school- seriously. Wouldn’t stay in his room from the time he was on- never mind when he was sent to his room!

    March 11th, 2010 at 5:53 pm

  31. Andi says:

    Umm… I dont think its quite legal to lock your children in their room…. I could be wrong, but I believe CPS frowns on that. I put up one of those walk through baby gates in my sons’ room

    March 16th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

  32. AJ says:

    Andi, allow me to clarify. You are wrong.

    March 17th, 2010 at 5:28 am

  33. Tanya says:

    How about putting him to sleep in a toddler sleeping bag, thus limiting his mobility? My buddy kept her 2 year old in the crib that way — her kid just could not swing that leg up over the side of the crib anymore!

    March 17th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

  34. Leah says:

    We used the 2-piece doorknob covers at first with some success, but later our 3 kids (we have triplets, 2b 1g) would beat them (with ball bats, toys, anything that worked) until the 2 pieces came apart, then they would just turn the knob normally & get out. So . . . we wrapped duct tape all the way around the covers, loose enough so they still work normally, but tight enough so the 2 pieces don’t come apart. That has worked pretty well so far.

    February 6th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

  35. Barbara says:

    I’m wondering what you ended up doing for door knobs, and what worked? My 2 yr old daughter has defeated every attempt at baby proofing that has been thrown her way that was in her reach.

    July 13th, 2012 at 10:17 am

  36. KGS says:

    I know this is a really old post, but for other people searching for such things I highly recommend this:

    It’s kind of like the hook and eye solution, but very easy for a parent (or an older sibling, depending on how high up you put the latch) to open quickly from EITHER side of the door, so it was a good bathroom door solution for us. It can easily be switched from automatic operation to disengaged. It won’t stand up to tower-builders or a sustained full-body-slam attack, but otherwise it solves a lot of problems.

    January 4th, 2013 at 1:46 pm

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