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We have recently bought an adhesive door lock for my 3 year old's bedroom to stop her getting out of her room at night. However, we have discovered she is able to yank the door handle with enough force that it opens regardless (even though the door is latched and the adhesive lock we've stuck on does not allow the handle to be turned).

To try and prevent the latch giving way so easily, I have tried to make some adjustments to the door strike plate:

  • Added a couple of washers behind each screw which is behind the plate. This helped the plate stick out a bit more from the doorframe, prior to this it was quite deeply set.
  • Added more washers behind the edge of the plate (visible in image) as the plate was tilting inwards.
  • Used some pliers to try and flatten the inside of the plate to prevent the latch slipping out so easily.

However, none of these seem to have prevented the issue and I'm not sure what to try next without resorting to something more involved, such as installing a bolt lock into the door frame or something.

Is there anything else I could try?

enter image description here image 2 enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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    Did you confirm that it is possible to open the door by yanking on the handle alone? I.e. that it is not the glue-on baby lock that is failing but really the door latch?
    – Eli Iser
    Commented Jun 21 at 11:57
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    This doesn't sound like a good parenting strategy or a safe situation. I'm not judging, not having the facts, but do reconsider your approach to what sounds like a discipline problem. It also seems like a fire entrapment danger.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jun 21 at 13:04
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    To check if the bolt is seated deep enough in the lock, shine a light into the gap you created with the two washers while the door is closed. If you don't see the bolt extend at least as deep as the first washer, it likely won't hold if someone gives a good shove against the door. Commented Jun 21 at 13:18
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    @isherwood the advice I've read from fire departments is that it's preferable to know exactly where your child is in an emergency, which is why we want to keep her locked in. At 3 years old she could also freely roam the house and encounter lots of domestic hazards. Her room is at least childproofed (furniture straps, etc)
    – Ian250221
    Commented Jun 21 at 17:05
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    @Ian250221 this may be worth asking on Parenting.SE, about how to deal with a wanderer at night.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 22 at 4:44

3 Answers 3

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Something's preventing the latch bolt from engaging fully. Either the strike plate is too far inboard (making it tight) or misaligned, the plate's tab is angled less than 90°, or the bolt encounters the wood in the bore. Figure that out and your problem should be solved.

Judging by the first photo (alignment and door gap), the door has settled. Snug up the top hinge screws or run longer ones into framing. From the last photo's angle it looks like that tab is still bent inward somewhat. That's a strategy I've often used to quiet rattling doors, but a side effect can be what you describe.

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  • This should be the first thing to check.
    – gnicko
    Commented Jun 23 at 12:06
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Replace the lever handle with a round knob. Put a "child proof" plastic/rubber piece over the knob.

The lever handle gives the young'un a thin handle that she can wrap her fingers around to yank the door open. The round knob will be too big for her to wrap her hands around so she won't get as much leverage. Additionally, the "child proof" cover (that requires adult hand strength to squeeze against the actual knob to allow turning the knob inside) will be loose, floppy around the knob, and even bigger making it more difficult for her to hold on and give it a good yank.

That said, this does sound more like a parenting/discipline issue than a physical issue. A quick visit to Parenting.SE and asking there for suggestions on how to train her to not even try to open the door at night (except, of course, at appropriate times like legitimate bathroom trips), might be even more helpful.

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    Though one might question a 3 year old's ability to judge whether bathroom trips are legitimate. Commented Jun 21 at 20:18
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    As a side note, those covers, while phenomenal, may be defeated by a highly inquisitive 3 year old through observation and application of both hands to turn the knob (one through each hole to 'pincer'). The anemic MIL, however, may not have the 'adult hand strength', and may end up trapped in said 3 year olds room while the 3 year old roams free.
    – GOATNine
    Commented Jun 21 at 22:10
  • It sounds like the child is not defeating the child lock; rather, the door latch itself is defective in some way and can be opened without turning the door handle. Thus, replacing the door handle type would not solve the problem except perhaps incidentally, if the OP happened to fix the defective part of the latching mechanism in the process of the replacement.
    – Martha
    Commented Jun 21 at 23:39
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I believe the issue here is the hole in the door frame behind the striker needs to be larger. (see the pic)

The blue lined area needs to be removed to allow the latch to insert fully in the striker plate.

enter image description here

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