The Privacy Door Latch (or PDL) was designed for the Hotel Industry. To allow guests privacy from unwanted cleaning crews walking in when you do not want them too. Over the last few years, the many hotels have been changing from the swing type arm “door guard” to the PDL. It’s is a modern, simplistic design that works well. In an emergency there is a special tool available to open it from the outside. The swing arm door guard type does not open from the outside without harming the door and/or frame.

Pemko PDL Privacy Door LatchI believe that the PDL can also be used in a residential setting to prevent dependent people from leaving the home unattended such as sleep walkers, Dementia or Alzheimer’s patients who live at home with a spouse or care giver, even preschoolers that have figured out how to open a lever lockset. (There are even some pets that have figured out how to open a door too.)

Years ago, one of my sons had a friend over to spend the night. The next morning my husband and I found the front door ajar. We found out the hard way that this boy walked in his sleep. The only reason he did not open the door fully and walk out was that it happened during the winter; we had a towel rolled up at the bottom of the door to stop the cold from coming in from under the door. So when the door was opened, the towel wedged itself under the door.

How many people live through this scenario on a daily basis? What if this boy actually went outside in the middle of the night, unattended. Where could he have been the next morning when we woke up? He was only spending the night. Only the other day I heard of a man with Alzheimer’s leaving the house, found wandering block away by the police, not knowing where his home was.

Most homes have doors that swing in. The Privacy Door Latch is made only for Inswinging doors. The mounting height can be at 48” above finish floor for ADA requirements or as high or low as you would like. But it needs to be mounted on the jamb; gravity will work against it if you mount it on the head of the frame. If you have a pair of doors, it can be placed on the inactive door. It will not work on sliding doors.Pemko PDL Mounting Diagram

Yes there are ways to defeat it. The sleep walker or Dementia person may remember how, or the child suddenly knows to get a chair to stand on. But there is the safety of being able to open the door in an emergency without a key. This is a huge relief; not searching in the dark for keys to get out,. Is the house filled with smoke too while you search?

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