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Whether you’ve got little ones of your own or you’re just expecting to see the grandkids a lot, you’ve probably got some experience in needing to kid-proof your home. There’s all the big rooms people need to take care of – living room, kitchen, anything with a lot of cords and electrical outlets, you know the routine. But what about the smaller, out-of-the way places? Your little ones are going to figure out how to open doors eventually, which means you’ll have even more places to keep safe from the little ones.

Thanks to the amount of messy food and potentially dangerous objects (like heavy cans or glass jars), the kitchen pantry is a prime candidate for kid-proofing. Here’s a few ways to work a kid-proofed cabinet or pantry into your kitchen – and your life – without a ton of hassle:

Divide & Conquer: Taking stock of your kitchen pantry is usually a good idea in general, but especially now that you need to make it safely child-proofed. Pull everything out, toss whatever has expired or you just don’t need anymore, and start to sort the rest of it out. You have two options here: either put everything back according to type (breakfast foods, sauces, pastas, etc) or try grouping them by container. This might be a slightly safer idea because it will let you keep the real dangerous stuff up higher out of reach (jars, etc) but whatever works best with the pantry you’ve got is fine.

Safety First: Speaking of which, this is a great chance to focus on whatever you think will cause the most trouble for your kids. Do you have plasticware you want to keep away from prying hands? Heavy canned goods or jars that could cause serious injury if knocked down? Consider an organization system that will keep these from prying hands, storing them up high out of reach or far back enough that your little ones can’t reach them. Focus on the dangerous items first before progressing further.

Don’t Give Into Temptation: Even if you’ve gotten all the dangerous stuff out of reach, there’s a few things that kids could still reach for – namely their favorite snacks! Don’t let your curious youngsters spoil their appetite by letting them get ahold of their favorite crackers and cookies, tuck those up and away where they can’t eat anything you don’t want them to.

Organize What’s Left: By now you should have a pretty good setup for a kid-proof pantry, but it could have caused a lot of clutter or made some things harder to get to. Start by adding some cabinet organizers to your shelves to keep all those canned goods you’ve moved up out of the way a little safer, or get some plastic bins with labels/pictures of their contents to keep them both organized and safer – if your kids can’t reach the tops of the bins to pull them, this is also a good way to prevent them from reaching the individual items you were worried about.

Lock It Up: Once your cabinets are in a good place, organization-wise, a good last step is to prevent entry to the cabinet in the first place. Magnetic cabinet locks are a good call to prevent the door from being opened (since your kids likely aren’t strong enough to pull the door as hard as is needed), or for a more durable solution you could get a bigger U-shaped lock (picture The Club, but for your kitchen) to keep things safe and sound. It might add an extra step when you bumble downstairs for a midnight snack, but the peace of mind in knowing your kids are safer (not to mention your food) will make it worth it.

Got any pictures of the kitchen cabinets you’ve child-proofed around your home, or any other tips for fellow parents? Leave a comment below!

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