Have You Ever Put a Lock on Your Fridge to Keep Kids Out?

We look at the pros and cons to help you decide if you should put a lock on your fridge to help keep kids out when they're babies and toddlers.

Have you ever come across a question that made you think “wow, you know what, now I wonder if I should do that too?” A fellow mom mention on a parenting group said she was at her wits end with having to constantly steer her kids away from the fridge and was wondering if any other moms put a lock on their fridges or just suffered through it. So of course, we were spurred into action, looking into the pros and cons to help YOU decide whether you should put a lock on YOUR fridge! See what you think, then let us know what you decide!

As a parent, you anticipate watching your kids grow and develop. You can’t wait for your kids to start talking, crawling, and walking. Once you get your wish, however, you have to work hard to keep your kids from getting into mischief, especially in the kitchen. You start wondering whether you should put a lock on the fridge to keep those kiddos out!

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Should You Put a Lock on Your Fridge?


Locking your fridge with a lock can have many positives, making it the right choice for you and your family.

  • Putting a lock on your fridge will keep your kids out of it, helping you to better manage the food inside of the fridge. If your child is able to access the fridge, you might find them grabbing snacks randomly, especially the sweet treats.
  • Another reason why you might want to put a lock on your fridge is so that you can keep all of the food in your fridge from going bad. If your child opens the fridge and leaves it open even a crack, your refrigerator will be unable to keep your food cool. This can ruin your perishables, which costs you time and money to replace.

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Alternatively, locking your fridge with a lock could be the wrong choice for you and your family due to the negatives associated with it.

  • One downside to putting a lock on your refrigerator is the inconvenience it is to take the lock off. Do you really want to fumble with a lock every time you want to grab something simple out of the fridge? Keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to lock up your fridge.
  • Another negative you need to be on the lookout for is losing the key to the lock or forgetting the combination code. If this happens, it could take some serious time before you can access your fridge again, making locking your fridge a troublesome thing to do.

Putting a lock on your fridge is a decision you need to make after weighing the pros and cons. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer. Every family does what is best for them.

What did you decide? Will you put a lock on your fridge or just hang in there until your kids are old enough to understand that they can’t go into it without your permission?

57 thoughts on “Have You Ever Put a Lock on Your Fridge to Keep Kids Out?”

  1. FrustratedSingleDad

    I work from home, so I’m here most of the time. The kids won’t stay out of the fridge or pantry. I’ve asked, told and demanded that they ask for food before taking because not everything in the pantry is designated for them to graze through at their discretion. They refuse to ask. They refuse to stop. I make them 3 meals a day and provide ample access to snacks. Still they help themselves and graze through a month’s food in a few days. I’ve had to put a padlock and wire through the handles of the french door fridge and freezer which is totally inconvenient and a thumbprint lock on the pantry to keep them out of that. I’ve had to purchase a separate fridge that I can put things in that they can eat without asking and designate a cupboard that they can take snacks from without asking that I’m only going to stock with a day’s worth of snacks at a time from the main pantry.

    It’s a shame because I don’t believe that anything healthy comes from having to lock them (or myself) out of cupboards and the fridge. It just teaches them that they’re second class citizens in the house which I just can’t reconcile, but at the same time, I can’t afford them to behave like locusts, they’ve both got a terrible relationship with food and not to mention I just can’t afford to let them continue to eat everything in the house unchecked.

  2. Another con I think some should be aware of is how this might emotionally affect the kids? They’re people. How would you feel to have food locked away from you without income to purchase your own? Maybe you’ve just been bullied about your weight and trying to avoid thinking about it, going home and seeing that your own mom locked the food up. Self esteem right down the drain…

  3. My issue is that my autistic children leave the refrigerator open and it stops cooling completely. I’ve been through THREE refrigerators this year. I stopped buying the French door because they’re more expensive to repair/replace. Now we have a Frigidaire stacked and they have once again broken it but it will be cheaper to fix and I can do this one myself. Seriously thinking about a lock

  4. Working in the nursing field, I had patients who had locks on their fridges because they had kids that would overeat and not close the fridge when they were done. So whatever food was left would get ruined because the fridge was left open. They were on fixed incomes so they did what they had to do.

    My son’s pediatrician is very worried because my son has gained so much weight. When food becomes an addiction, and yes we know it can be, sometimes you have to put a lock. We had a lock, it has since broken and his weight has gotten out of control. My aunt, a pediatric nurse said it is common for ASD kids to overeat. My son is ASD, he does overeat, so I have to do something. My kid was nonverbal for years so he’s not one to ask. He still has trouble verbalizing his feelings so trying to have a conversation, trust me I’ve tried, it doesn’t always work.

  5. We’ve seriously contemplated this. We have a 16 year old, 14 year only and 13 year old…plus 2 babies that of course don’t get into food. The 16 and 13 year old do ask permission and are respectful, but the 14 old is normally an only child and doesn’t give a crap when he comes to live with us. He eats anything and everything he wants. My husband and I are gone all day for work and when we get home a weeks worth of groceries are gone in 1-2 Days. It is so frustrating. Telling him to stay out of the food and ask is pointless. I think a lock is the only solution, especially since COVIDHappened…they only have school 2 days a week. This is insane. A brick of tilamook cheese from Costco is 16.99. It is gone in less than a week. What is that? Like 5 lbs? Half a family sized box of cereal is gone in one day. I can’t keep the house stocked like this!

  6. Our third son (a lean teen) has access to all the food in the house. Our problem is he won’t eat sandwiches or peel an orange. If it’s not prepackaged junk food or canned drinks, he isn’t interested. He only has a small plate at dinner (his choice), then he sneaks downstairs after the house is quiet and eats chips, cookies, soda, juice, and sweet cereal. We always find bags and empty cans under his bed.
    Not all dietary concerns are physiological; sometimes it is just plain old defiance

    1. Plain ole defiance is right!!! No wonder my 13yo daughter is never hungry, she’s always sneaking junk food.

    2. We have a lock on ours. Our youngest, 7, would sneak down at night and raid the fridge. The 15 year old would stay up late and binge while gaming. We used a thumbprint lock, to avoid the cons listed above. Oldest actually has access but now it’s an extra step he has to take. And he knows he’ll lose the privilege if he leaves it unlocked. Youngest is learning self control, so he has a snack drawer that is refilled once a week. When he’s out, he’s out and has to now wait for someone to get him a snack.

      1. Sounds like a great idea. Thank you for posting.

        For naysayers, in my anatomy physiology class we learned that the messages to the brain that the stomach is full can take as long as 20 minutes. That is a lot of extra eating and overtime can stretch the stomach. So controlling access I think helps a lot.

        1. My dog has learned to open the refrigerator, I’m just trying to keep him out of our food because I can’t afford to feed him the people food and we are not going to eat the dog food.

      2. Do you mind me asking what fingerprint lock you use? I am having a hard time finding one for a fridge.

        Thank you for your post by the way. I have been struggling with weather or not I should lock the fridge for a while. I have an overweight 14 year old that just eats everything when we go to bed.

  7. We are doing this our kids eat like there is no tomorrow literally. Worst part is waking up in the morning or coming home from work and seeing the kitchen a mess . They will not eat one yogurt they wont stop till packs finish. They eat expensive lunch meat like a snake $14 a pound snack cereals last one day . We feel exhausted and dont know how we can continue this financially or healthwise

  8. We lock our fridge with a simple combo lock, however we have a snack pantry that we keep healthy things for kids to have throughout the day. Doing it this way we are able to avoid our kids eating things meant for school or dinner, but aren’t deprived of food either. We had to do this as we saw no other options since We have 2 large growing boys ages 11 & 13. Our 13 year old was a bit overweight for his age at around 8 years old but has since “grown” into his body and is no longer overweight. Our 11 year old is the same and since he was around 8 years old has gained a lot of weight, and we had hoped that the same would happen with him, but more and more we have realized that isn’t the case, and it’s due to him constantly overeating. It seems like everytime we would go into the kitchen one or both of our kids were in the fridge. Our 11 year old wants to eat even without being hungry, mostly cuz he is bored. It’s summertime and all of his friends are gone or have moved. So for him it’s videogames, eat, videogames, eat, wash rinse, repeat.

    We have found that since locking the fridge and limiting what’s in the snack pantry has helped quite a bit

  9. When I was a really young kid (maybe 7 or 8) my mum would constantly threaten to lock the fridge because I used to snack a lot. That contributed to the messed up relationship with food I now have because I felt like I was always eating too much. In my opinion you should allow your children to eat when they want just make sure to buy healthy food rather than junk, people get hungry/thirsty for a reason

    1. These comments are making me really sad… I know it’s tough with money but this is something my mom did to us as kids and both of have eating disorders… There has to be a better way:(

  10. I too have problem of a $1300 a month food bill as a single father of 2. 3 in household. I have been told by a friend of mine that had this same issue in East Tennessee MTN area. That it is a dcs violation to withhold food from your children. In turn I fix it by only buying enough food for 3 people in 2 day increments.

    1. There is still food my kid has access too but he doesn’t want to eat the sugar free vanilla wafers, cans of soup, and veggie chips. So as long as all food isn’t witheld I think it is ok.

    2. It is poor judgement to lock food away from children. It’s probably the easiest way to control food, but a miserable way to treat growing children. I wonder if it’s considered child abuse.

  11. I am obviously not the norm here, but I am looking into ways to control the food, as my autistic son gets into everything and it is subject to being gone. He is a teen so not as easy as a toddler to control anymore. I am not happy about needing to hide food, but it is out of hand. I don’t think locking the fridge is a solution for our family (we rent and the fridge is not owned by me so can’t start manipulating it), but I will likely buy a mini fridge to keep some items that are important for meals in there, and lock that instead.

  12. My daughters dad and step mom do this. Down side, they go to work and the kids are at home all day from 7am to 6pm without food. Also, my daughter works summers there, and she ate once at 12 pm bc their work schedule didn’t coincide with hers, so she couldn’t pack supper, and they didn’t bring anything for her to eat. All day life guard training with no food/. We have a child with autism and another who eats all day, but somehow we manage without locks. Watch your kids, put them on a routine, etc. you’re locking food away from your child. If they’re overweight, guess who is to blame??? You, the parent. Don’t buy junk. Cook healthy and have healthy snacks available. Go out and play with them!! So tired of all these excuses!!

    1. Not all situations are like yours. Why does what other families do bother you so much? I think people came here for a reason (informed decision making), yet they come across a tersely worded criticism that is not helpful. Do better!

    2. Girl, bye! You obviously are in this forum reading and commenting for a reason. It’s not an excuse. In fact with all that you have going on, you sound like you are at your wits end. I have a 23 nearly 24 year old autistic, schizoaffective, anxiety daughter who eats all day and night And I’m on here because I’m trying to figure out how to put a lock on the refrigerator. It’s not easy when they listen to you and then grow into adults and have a mind on their own or process independence in a very challenging and expensive way.

    3. I plan to lock the fridge. My kid has issues with manual dexterity and can’t close packages so the food dries out. There is plenty of food outside the fridge for him to eat but he isn’t interested in eating chicken noodle/vegetable soup or sugar free vanilla wafers. I’m a single parent and work long hours. I do have a sitter that takes him out to the park and exercises with him about an hour and a half each week day. I take him out on the weekends and we hike and/or go to the park. My former partner during covid quarantine would take him hiking and biking 2-3 hours each day. His weight was steady until the lock broke. If he chose to eat veggies and fruits in the fridge… that would be okay but that is not what he goes for. He wants all the cheese, all the meats, and corn tortillas. Unfortunately they end up drying out because they aren’t closed properly. There are still lots of veggies he could eat but sigh… he doesn’t want those. Our bodies are conditioned to eat hearty because back in the cave days when we were hunter gatherers, there were times when food just wasn’t readily available. So we have progressed with modern conveniences but our genetics are the same.

  13. My parents do this to my sisters and I. It sucks so much…I hate how my little sisters have to wait until 8 pm to eat again because my dad doesn’t want to open the fridge until our mom gets home…
    My little sisters have cried and I just hate living like this…its so embarrassing too. I dont want to have friends over because I dont want to have to explain why they cant have a glass of milk when they want it. I feel like a animal…When I move out, I am taking the fridge key, there bedroom key, All the keys to everything that they locked up and throwing them out the window on the highway while I leave this horrable house!

  14. Iwe had my boyfriends daughter move in with us 2 years ago. She was 15 at the time, prediabetic (with diabeties running through both family bloodlines) high triglycerides, and high cholesterol. Also she is in the Obese range for BMI. We have tried so hard to krep food that is healthy and accessible, teach her healthy portion sizes, ect. I might add I buy almost all the food in the home. If I got a bag of fruit for the family she would eat all of it in one day (not an exageration) same with any snacks, and food. I have made it very clear she is to ask before touching any food bc it may be an ingredient for a recipe or not intended as a meal, however after 2 years shes still doing it. I think she might have a binge eating disorder, as she eats large amounts of food in secret, spends her allowance on food I dont buy bc its not good for her body, dad does not have clear boundries, nor consequences for her behavior, when there is a consequence he does not follow through with it. I feel her unhealthy relationship with food maycorrelate with lack if consistant restrictions, boundries, and consequences from dad. Maybe a cry for help? She also has social, emotional and mild cognitive delays so technically she may be 17 but she is really maybe 12 or 13 in her developement, however has the responsibilities and and uninhibited freedom of a 17 year old teen. In light of this situation I feel to both protect my wallet and her body that a fridge lock is necessary as well as locking cupboards, at this time as inconvenient as it will be. At least until Dad can address the issues she is having in relation to food and she gets the help she truly needs.

    1. I am having almost exactly the same issues as you are. In doing the math we are spending almost twice the amount allotted in our budget for food. We have specifically told the children that certain food is specifically for their school lunches yet within a matter of days all the food we buy is gone. while we are happy to make them something and or they can make a sandwich, wait for dinner, or have something small, they are giving no regard to the rules we are setting forth and are sneaking food all throughout the day and night. Upon doing laundry or straighten up are we find our empty wrappers and containers along with dishes bowls cups etc in their rooms. I am at my Wit’s end and just do not know how this is going to turn out aside from putting a lock on the pantry closet. I’m not one to ever deny a child something to eat when they are hungry I have no problem with that however when the things we buy for them are gone within 1 or 2 days then obviously there’s an issue. I would love to hear more about how your situation has turned out. Please keep me posted!

  15. I tried putting a lock on my fridge but my 20 month old son broke it the same day lol. My son gets 3 balanced meals a day plus snacks yet he is constantly getting in the fridge and pantry. I think he just likes the challenge. He climbs and spills stuff. Makes it difficult to make dinner when I’m constantly pulling him out of the fridge. Never have had this problem with my 3 yr old. Hopefully its just a stage

  16. Wow I can’t imagine putting a lock on my fridge. My kids are only 3 & 5 but I still don’t think this will be necessary when they get older.

    1. No one has mentioned how other kids, your childrens friends, etc. will open your refrigerator and help themselves to the snacks you bought for your own kids! How does one handle this with 6 and 7 year old kids, wiping out your refrigerator. Food is a very expensive commodity these days! And their parents don’t care!

    1. Plain ole defiance is right!!! No wonder my 13yo daughter is never hungry, she’s always sneaking junk food.

  17. A lock? What about kids asking permission? Or, why isn’t it ok for them to go in the refrigerator? I am old and times have changed. I did find the post interesting as I like hearing about things from another’s perspective.

  18. I didn’t know this was an issue. I think teaching your child control and manners might help here. My kids are 10, 4, and 2 and before anyone heads to the fridge they ask, and furthermore, we eat and have snacks through out the day. The kids know not to ask for extras, because at such and such time they will have snacks or lunch or dinner. I’ve never even considered this. Odd. Thanks for the list thought!

    1. I understand some people don’t understand but when you have a child that is 8 and eats a whole container of ice cream you start thinking how you can prevent them from getting bigger and bigger.

      1. I agree with you GC. Plus with Covid last year one could not just go out and get food. There was a shortage or what you needed wasn’t available.

    2. Check back when theyre 13,14,15,17 and your at work all day. They and their friends are coming over and you come home to zero food. Then throw in a pandemic and having them home full time while you’re at work. Your children are still at an age where they’ll ask lol. Some of you parents in here comparing your stay at home life with your 2 year old doesn’t even belong in this conversation. None of us with teens Thought of this when they were younger, sweeter more helpful and listened to mommy!! lol 😂 & it’s not keeping food from them either. They eat plenty!! If this doesn’t apply to you why are you here? Some of moms are actually going through it financially all while trying to keep food in a house! They don’t need to go look in the fridge every 15 minutes they eat 3 meals a day a couple snacks and fruit in between…. is that abuse?

  19. Never would put a lock on the fridge. They know to ask before going into the fridge. Never had any issues.

  20. I never had that problem with my kids. There was an understanding that if there were sweet treats they had to be divided evenly and it worked for us.

  21. We’ve not had a problem like that. Our kids ask if they want something and we have lots of snack times. We also have a gate in the door way so the smallest won’t crawl in when we are not in there.

  22. year ago, with my boy, we had a velcro lock on the top of the fridge. He was so determined to get it open that he would pull every chance he got. Eventually he distorted the shape of the door where it would not close properly or completely at the bottom. Strong toddler I had….lol

  23. I have never put a lock in our fridge before. The kids can eat anyway they want to eat. There is always fruits that they can eat healthy. I might need a lock not for my kids but for a neighbor that always ask for food lol.

  24. We are strict with our blueeyedbabies to ask before they get into the fridge, mostly because we worry that they won’t close it all the way. But thank you for the pro’s and con’s! I can think of some families that might need to consider doing this or something like it.

  25. well, we never had this issue at our home. We made sure the children’s needs were met and taught them about asking. So we did not have to consider the lock. Thanks follow r the pros and cons, though.

    1. I see nothing wrong with locking a fridge or pantry, as long as the children are provided meals and snacks at regular intervals. Parents should be sure that the children have access to snacks/ light meals if they won’t be home until late. For compulsive food behaviors, locking the food is the responsible thing to do, it’s a safety issue. However, if the child is compulsive, professional help should be consulted as well. Do what works for your family & everyone else….try to judge a little less.

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