The kitchen might be the room if your home that’s full of the MOST dangerous stuff for a baby.
- Hot burners
- Breakable glasses & plates
- Heavy pots & pans
And the list goes on!
For that reason, the kitchen should be high on your list when it comes to baby proofing.
But how do you baby proof the oven drawer? (Also known as the stove drawer or broiler drawer, it’s the little metal compartment that slides out from the bottom of your oven.)
A lot of parents overlook this one because it’s so rarely used, but if you let your kids crawl around in the kitchen, you can bet they’ll find it!
The best ways to baby proof an oven drawer are to lock it shut with simple safety latches like the ones designed for a refrigerator, keep it empty except for harmless objects like Tupperware, or just keep it completely empty.
Let’s take a closer look at each option, plus extra tips for baby proofing your oven or stove area.
1. Lock it shut with simple safety latches
One reason a lot of parents have trouble properly baby proofing this area is that it’s kind of funky to begin with.
A lot of the usual stuff you’d use to baby proof your cabinets won’t work here, because this odd metal drawer has no latch and often no handle.
So what can you use?
Believe it or not, safety latches that are designed for refrigerator doors, toilet seats, and other appliances are often perfect.
You’re looking for something that connects on the outside of the drawer with two adhesive or magnetic anchors, one for the drawer itself and one that connects to the oven door.
A flexible strap in between these two anchors will keep the drawer from sliding out, but parents should be able to release the latch with a simple push of a button.
Check out this pair of safety straps on Amazon — they should work perfectly for most stove drawers.
2. Keep it completely empty
If you don’t like the look of having a safety strap plastered to the outside of your oven, my next best suggestion is to just keep that drawer completely empty.
A lot of parents report their kids like climbing in and out of the drawer for fun, but if you don’t keep any “forbidden fruit” in there, they’re likely to get bored and move on pretty quickly.
Oven drawers are a great place to keep cookie sheets and heavy, glass pans, but consider moving them elsewhere and leaving that drawer completely empty and completely boring for babies!
You’ll still need to be careful when the oven’s on — the inside of those drawers can sometimes get hot, so you don’t want to let your guard down all the way.
3. Fill it with baby-safe stuff
Option number three on our list, for anyone with limited storage (like me!) is to ONLY keep harmless, baby-safe objects in your stove drawer.
Our kitchen is too small to just abandon that storage space altogether, so in that case I’d recommend moving your cookie sheets and other heavy cookware out of the drawer — keep that stuff locked up in a cabinet.
Use the drawer to house your Tupperware, plastic spoons, or anything else you don’t mind baby getting into.
There are two reasons this is a less than ideal option, though it still works:
One – If the oven drawer becomes baby’s play area, you’ll need to be super, super careful when you know the oven is hot. I don’t like the idea of encouraging a baby to open up this drawer. But it’s certainly better to fill it with Tupperware than breakable glass.
Two – Check for yourself how hot the inside of this drawer gets while cooking. I’d hate to have you store your plastic containers in there only for them to melt!
Other tips for baby-proofing your oven and stove
That about covers baby-proofing your oven drawer. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be! Just keep it empty or put a basic adhesive strap across the opening.
That said, the rest of the oven and stove area can be pretty dangerous for young kids.
Here are a few more safety tips and product to keep in mind.
Oven lock (keeps kids from opening the door)
I highly suggest picking up a simple oven lock…
… to keep young kids from getting into a hot oven.
These are pretty inexpensive and install without equipment and will hold up against the heat of your oven door. Better yet, they should be pretty easy for most adults to open while cooking.
Remove stove knobs
If your stove knobs are on the front of your stove (especially for gas ranges), consider popping the knobs off when the stove isn’t in use.
Usually, you can just pull these knobs straight off and pop them back on when you need them.
You don’t want little hands reaching up and turning the knobs! This can be outrageously dangerous, either releasing gas or unknowingly heating up a burner.
If yours won’t come off, you can get separate locks or covers for these knobs like this set on Amazon.
You might consider what would happen if you were cooking on the stove and your baby or toddler reached up onto the hot surface.
It seems unlikely, but it could happen in a heartbeat while you’re busy chopping or doing other cooking tasks!
Stove guards are a great solution.
Unfortunately, good ones aren’t cheap. You’ll want to find one that goes on easy enough and comes off without destroying your stove — plus, the safety features need to actually work!
I like this higher-end adjustable one on Amazon.
Baby gate the kitchen while cooking
Depending on the age of your kid, you might want to just baby-gate them out of the kitchen completely while you’re cooking.
Or you could use a playpen or small gated off area inside the kitchen to keep them in your sight but away from the hot cookware and stove.
That’s probably the most cost-effective solution, as all these specialty baby proofing devices can really add up price-wise!
A lot of parents don’t even realize they need to baby-proof their oven drawer, so at least you’ve got a head start on most of them!
It’s a strange storage area, but keeping baby out of it is actually pretty simple:
Go with a simple and sturdy safety latch like this one on Amazon and that’s about all you’ll have to do.
Alternatively? Just keep the drawer empty so baby can’t hurt himself and gets bored of the stove drawer quickly.
What did I miss? Have you found a better way of keeping kids out of your oven drawer and away from hot surfaces?
(You might also like my guide to which baby monitors are the safest from being hacked.)