If there’s a toddler in your household, you may be tired of retrieving toys, food, and bits of paper from your register vents. Or maybe the little one is lifting them and dropping them on their fingers and toes.

If any of these situations speak to you, we have several good suggestions for childproofing your HVAC registers.

Secure the registers

By securing the register itself, you can keep a child from lifting it and putting toys, etc. into the ducts.

  1. If your register is wood, you can hammer, screw, or glue it to the floor below.
  2. If the register is metal, you can screw it down.
  3. Or if you want a less permanent (and floor scarring) option, you can attach Velcro to the underside of the register and the floor. It’s less secure than the other options, but it still makes it more difficult to lift the register. By the same token, you can use double-sided foam mounting tape.

Of course, securing a register could mean covering it with an upside-down laundry basket – but that is only likely to work with a very young child. Still, it might just be the quick measure you need in the meantime.

Screen the registers

Even with a register cover securely fastened over the vent, there are still those little slits. And as small as they are, the number of objects that fit through them is still pretty impressive.

  • There are vinyl covers that will magnetically attach to the top of a metal register. They also block airflow completely but may be helpful in the short term.
  • There are air filters specifically designed for your vents – check your local hardware store to find them.
  • Make your breathable filters using screen mesh or a dryer sheet to create a hammock, fastening the edges on the underside of the
  • register with tape, strong magnets, or glue. (The hammock shape allows for the vent to open and close easily.)
  • For vents that don’t open and close, you can attach the screen material directly to the floor.

Hide the registers

Your solution may be as simple as hiding the register.

  1. Place furniture over the vent. Again, you don’t want to block airflow completely but only want to put the register out of the reach of little hands.
  2. Simply putting a chair over it or providing camouflage may work equally well (hiding in plain sight).
company icon