Locking kids in their rooms

Meghan - posted on 12/24/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I made a comment on another thread that I lock my son in his room when he is sleeping. I have said this to other people and I have gotten mixed reviews. How does everyone else feel about this issue?

The reason we do it is mostly for safety. He can open his door and I don't want him wandering around the house at night. The other reason is, if we put him to bed and he isn't tired yet, he will get up and come right out of this room. Locking the door was the only real way of making him stay in his room to go to sleep. Also, he tends to wake at night, and again, if the door were open he would just come right out, rather then go back to sleep.

We have done this ever since he moved out of his crib. How do others feel about this? Do you do it too? Or how do you keep your kids from getting up and out of bed?

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Danielle - posted on 05/23/2011

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we Have a hook lock on our son's door, something quick and easy incase of fire i have a fire ladder under his bed, our son, loves the outdoors so we have also installed ADt alarms with door chimes b/c we live on a busy street, We lock him in to go to sleep and until i wake up b/c i'm always awake b4 he is, so he doesn't know he's locked in, our other reason is he like to climb he's tall like his dad and the dogs taught him how to open the baby gates, for us it's safety b/c sometimes he's so tired we're afraid of him falling down the stairs trying to climb the baby gate, He can't hear us lock his door so it doesn't harm him when he knows in the morning his door is open for him to roam around. i believe in the hook locks just for quick access if needed rope is messy and can be harmful in a bad situation. i use to use vasoline on the door knob til he figured it out. for 2 he's a quick learner.

Meghan - posted on 01/12/2011

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You are very right. My dad is a fire chief and has been in the fire service for 40+years. He says that closing doors at night is safer. If a fire were to break out in the main part of the house, or another room, closed doors will slow it down. Also, kids who are in cribs or locked/secured in a room are actually safer from fire because they can't get out and walk around. Plus the fire department knows exactly where to go to get them out.

Meagan - posted on 12/30/2010

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The only thing I would be worried about is getting to him in a hurry if there were an emergency. We put two baby gates up - one on top of the other. We had just one, but he started climbing, so we added one. This makes it possible for us to look in on him and get to him quickly if there were an emergency.

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22 Comments

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Michelle - posted on 06/27/2011

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I close my daughters door for her nap and bed time and we use the baby monitor so we know when she's already awake. she can open the door if she want to coz she's done it before but she prefer that we open it for her when she's up already. so far there's no reason for me to lock her in her room yet, unless she does something that will hurt or harm herself then I guess I have to lock her in too.

Amber - posted on 06/05/2011

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I think it is fine. I do the same with my daughter. One night I put her to bed and fell asleep myself.. next thing I knew the man across the street was banging on my window. My daughter had got up, opened her door. climbed over the baby gate, unlocked the front door and walked out. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT! now i lock her in her room and have an alarm on all the doors.

Laura - posted on 01/11/2011

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I don't close my son's door atnight, but probably should.

I saw a video of a fire that consumed a house and it had facts and times about how much extra time a closed door buys you and how it can prevent the fire from being as bad inside the room. I don't know what it was called, but it was really informative.

Meghan - posted on 01/10/2011

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Samantha- yes and no. Yes, we could just get up and put him back to bed. That is not really the issue. The issue is more for his own safety. He could get up and walk around and get into things in the night, or walk out the front door (he can reach the locks). I actually feel better knowing he is in his room safe. And to be honest, I don't think he knows he is locked in. When he wakes up, he comes to the door and says "mama, all done ni night." and I go open it. He isn't scared or upset that he is locked in.

You are of course entitttle to your opinion, but may I ask you this. Is your child still in a crib? It seems to me that most of the moms who have replied have already moved their kids to a bed and in one way or another still contain their child in their room (lock or gate).

What would you suggest?

Samantha - posted on 01/09/2011

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Isnt it just better to get up and put your child back to bed a lock on there door seems really cruel to me sorry.

Elaine - posted on 01/09/2011

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i had this problem with my son aswell but iam afraid i have to say i wouldnt lock him in his room incase there is a fire! i have a baby gate on his room so when he does get up he cant get out

Nikki - posted on 01/08/2011

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i've got a 4yr old who is rained and needs the bathroom open at night there for my 21 month old is locked in his room for his own safety. i too have all our bedrooms upstairs so thats scary. iused to just put a childgate up but the lil devil knows how to climb over them now which is even more terrifyig. i do still have a monitor in his room so ican hear whats going on and know when he is awake or if he hurts himself. do what you are comfortable with, my aunt wants me to raise my children how she raised her 1. there is a difference in what is acceptable now as well as between haveing1 or 2 or more kids. same aunt buys my 4 yr old polly pockets which go straight into the closet for later because i have a 21 month old who could choke....

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I myself would have no issue locking my daughter in her room once she gets to the same point your kid is. She is VERY ingenuitive and I know for a fact she would wander the house at night if I let her. Do what you feel you need to, just don't do it all the time, only at bedtime.

Catharine - posted on 01/07/2011

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It doesn't seem like there's a difference between a lock and a childproof door knob thingy (assuming the lock isn't keyed) and I have known lots of parents who have used those on their toddlers' doors at night. Especially those with two stories. Actually, if there were a fire and the child were locked in, at least you'd know exactly where to go and find him.

All of this discussion seems to center on night time and possibly nap time, which seems practical. The phrase "locking kids in their rooms" just gives the impression of rapunzel in her tower or solitary confinement with bread and water, and that feeling may be what people were responding to negatively. But, keeping toddlers from wondering around the house at night seems like a legitimate safety concern. Especially those prone to wondering through front doors.

Amy - posted on 01/04/2011

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I put an extra tall walk thru gate in my older sons room when he got his big boy bed at 2.5 and didnt remove it til he was 4yrs. It's 3feet tall, doesnt have horizontal bars so impossible to climb. To open it you have to pull the switch and pull up on the gate, too hard for a child to do. I like the gate idea better so i can look in on him plus he's afraid of monsters and the dark, makes it easier for him to sleep. I suspect when my youngest gets his big boy bed in a few months we may need the gate again. Right now he's only 22mos, and just fine in his crib.

Ambyr - posted on 01/04/2011

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I think it is ok as long as it is easy to unlock in case of any emergancys. My mom had a friend once that use to lock her child in his room and he somehow found a way out so instead she started roping him into his bed!! ( that I dont agree with)My aunt locks her daughter in her room and all she has is a little latch on the one side and it seems to keep her in. My kids doors are always shut when they go to sleep but I havn't gotten my daughter into a toddler bed yet. I have also known ppl to use the little things that go on the door handle to kids cant turn them. Either way I think it is fine.

Meghan - posted on 01/01/2011

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That is a good point, about an emergency. But the way we lock him in is using a child proof lock on the outside. Our door handles are levers, so this lock just slides over and you can open it. Its really quick and easy. Thanks for the input everyone!

Laurel - posted on 12/28/2010

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I do the same thing! I feel bad for saying it...but if we didn't he would never sleep on his own, not to mention the fact that he would just get up and it would be a 3 hour battle to get him to lay down. I don't think there is anything wrong with it as long as you are where you can hear them and check on them often.

Renae - posted on 12/26/2010

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Many sleep consultants actually recommend locking a child in if they can and do open the door. It completely depends on the child. Some children do not respond well to it, act out and it makes it harder to get them to sleep than if the parent just leaves the door open. Other children, like yours I suspect, need to be separated from the stimulation going on in the rest of the house in order to go to sleep. If it works for you, there is nothing wrong with it. I think this is just a case of people not realising that all kids are different and what isn't necessary for them may be for someone else. Also people often react to what they think isn't normal, when their experience of "normal" is only what they know from their own children, friends and family, they dont realise it actually is normal and very common. My only concern when the child is unable to exit the room is fire, I always suggest a smoke alarm in the room.

Meghan - posted on 12/26/2010

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Thanks for the input ladies! I feel better about it knowing other mom's do it too. Like you said, god forbid there is a fire, there is no difference if they are in a crib, locked in, or with a baby gate. I just like to hear what other people do. I think for us, the baby gate wouldn't work because our house is one story and pretty open, so he would see and hear us.

Thanks again for the input!

Sarah-Anne - posted on 12/26/2010

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we always have our daughter's door shut when she's sleeping/napping and occasionally when she's being naughty to the point of me needing a time out. it started at 12 months 1 day when she got a toddler bed. we put a baby proof doorknob thing on the inside of her room. she can only open those if she stands on a stool, so we make sure she doesn't have anything to stand on in her room. if we didn't keep her door shut, she'd climb in our bed, or terrorize the bunny in the kitchen, or mess with the tv or computer. she wakes up once or twice every night. if she's wet, she knows to knock on her door, otherwise she'll just go back to sleep or play with her stuffed animals. there are some mornings i find her sleeping on her floor with all her animals on her bed.

Jodi - posted on 12/26/2010

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If I had to I wouldn't have a problem locking my LO in her room for that purpose. All of our bedrooms (obviously including hers) are on the second floor, which means stairs, plus there's a bathroom up there. So, if my daughter were able (or figures out that she is able to least ways) to climb her baby gate, then one at the top of the stairs won't stop her, if she can open her own door, she could open the bathroom door with a tub waiting to be turned on and a toilet to drown her in. When she's older and can manage stairs on her own or be trusted to go potty without potentially killing herself, then it won't matter so much. In the event of a fire, what's the difference of a baby gate that a kid can't climb and a door a kid can't open? Either way, they're trapped in their room and at least you know (or can tell a firefighter) exactly which room they're in. I get other people's views on this issue, but have yet to hear anything that would make me judge another mom for choosing to do something I wouldn't have a problem doing if I had to...thankfully, a babygate works fine for us!

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