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Helpful Tips for Childproofing Your HVAC Registers

If you have a small child in the house, chances are you’ve found small things in your HVAC registers. Things like toys, bits of food, missing keys, or even the occasional small child sticking their fingers in the register slots.

Keeping small children away from registers requires a little thought and some ingenuity. Here are a few helpful suggestions for childproofing your registers.

Secure the registers to the floor

If you can secure the register itself to the floor, you can keep a child from being able to lift it and stick foreign objects into your ductwork. Ways to do this include:

  • Hammering, screwing or gluing them to the floor.

If you want a less permanent method as well as one that won’t leave holes you can attach Velcro to floor and the underside of the register. Double sided foam mounting tape will work as well. While this is a less secure option, it still provides resistance and makes the register more difficult to lift.

Screen the register vents

While your register cover may be firmly secured to the floor, that still leaves little slots that children can throw small objects down. It can be surprising how many things can fit inside those narrow slots. To screen them you can use:

  • Vinyl covers that magnetically attach to the metal register face. The caveat, of course, is that they also block air flow, but may still be helpful in the short term.
  • Air filters that are specifically designed for your vents can usually be found at your local hardware store. Or you might want to check with your local HVAC provider.
  • Do-it-yourself air vent ‘hammocks’ are a good option as well. You can make your own breathable filters by fastening screen mesh or a dryer sheet to the underside of the register with tape, magnets, or glue. Leave a slight sag to catch the debris and allow the vents to open and close easily.

Hide your register vents

The old saying goes: Out of sight, out of mind. That works for registers as well.

  • Place furniture in front of the vent. Be sure not to place it over the vent so as to completely block the airflow, but in front so as to hide it.
  • Put a low legged chair over the register vent, this can do a good job of camouflaging it as well, without blocking the airflow completely.

You can easily childproof registers yourself, but if you need any duct cleaning or serious object retrieval, it’s best to call an HVAC professional.