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Using Locks Effectively and Wisely

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 25 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Using Locks Effectively Wisely Children

Locking your medicine cabinet makes sense not only to protect your children but also to ensure that visiting kids don't have access to your medicines. With so many different types of locks available, the question of which lock to use can be a confusing one. You clearly want a secure lock that is childproof but at the same time, your cabinet contents need to be easily accessible to treat immediate injuries.

Aren't Childproof Caps Sufficient?
Childproof caps are only one preventative tool for securing your medications. They are particularly useful if, for example, you are interrupted while taking a medication and accidentally leave it on the counter or somewhere similar where your child can access it. Ideally, you should have a locked medicine cabinet to keep all drugs safely secured and away from your kids. Despite locks generally being effective and secure, they are not one hundred percent perfect and could still become faulty at some point in time, so it's also best to install your medicine cabinet high up and away from a child's reach.

Which Lock Is Best?
There are several different locks available-some that come with the cabinet itself and others you can install. Most locks are effective and secure, so it's really a case of preference. Your choice will mainly be based on a combination of cost, effort and time to install the cabinet and locks. You may also look at your own accessibility as a factor, as well as the accessibility for other adults in the home. It's important that you can still comfortably and quickly get to the contents of your medicine cabinet when injury or illness strikes but you need to find a balance that still keeps the cabinet secure from children.

Key Locks
Key locks usually come with the medicine cabinet when it is purchased. They normally aren't something you can add to a previously installed medicine cabinet and even if so, it would require a great deal of time, effort and cost. You can purchase a special medicine cabinet that can only be accessed with a key. The con to this type of lock is if you lose the key or forget where you placed it and then can't access your medications. This can be addressed by keeping your key in the same place at all times and ensuring it's in a location where only adults have access and children can't find it.

Sliding Locks
Another type of lock that is effective for securing your medicine cabinet is a sliding lock. This is used to stop kids from opening a cabinet that has a sliding door and they are typically quite easy to install. Sliding locks and other types can be found at most hardware shops and should come with full instructions. If you feel you're not up for the job and can afford it, hiring a worker to install the cabinet is a good way to ensure it's properly set-up and secure.

A locked medicine cabinet should be a necessity rather than an option. It keeps your medications together where you can conveniently reach them while reducing the chances that a child gains access and subsequently overdoses on a drug.

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