Gates: Baby Safety Gate Guide

Are you thinking about buying your first safety gate? Many questions will arise. Do I need an extra wide safety gate? What type of safety gate lock is best? How can I safety gate stairs? Babies are busy little people and once they get moving it’s hard to slow them down. Turn your back for a minute and baby is attempting to climb the stairs. Their curious little brains spur them on to try new things. Because of this, baby gates, safety gate for baby, have become essential items for most families. Not only can they keep baby in, they can also keep pets out. They also come in handy when you’re working in the kitchen or have an “organization” project going on that can’t be disturbed. Containing your child with a baby safety gate can add an extra sense of security to your home.

photo by ms. Tea at flickr dot com

Types of Gates: Pressure Gates & Mounted Gates

Pressure gates are not attached to the wall. They work with springs to exert pressure keeping them firm against the wall. Many people prefer this type because they are concerned about damaging the walls with a mounted gate. If you use it frequently, the wall often becomes damaged anyway, so don’t let this be a deciding factor. Chose your gate based on the use and safety. Many of these gates can be opened and closed without removing them from the wall, however, some of the older, traditional models, need to be removed before anyone can go in or out, making them less convenient. Pressure mounted gates are ideal to separate the space between rooms on the same floor and come in many different configurations.

Wall mounted gates attach to the wall and are secured with screws. When installed and secured property, they can last for years. Once your children have outgrown the need for the gates, holes can be patched and walls painted. If you’ll find an irreplaceable work of art from your precious little one, you can take a photo to capture the moment and move on with whatever is necessary.

The wall mounted gates work great, but what if I have a central stairway without walls? Today, there are special installation kits and products that make it easier to install your gate in tricky areas so you can keep the stability of the mounted model without losing its safety factors.

Baby Safety Gate Stair Safety

Stairways are very dangerous for babies. If you have stairs in your home, the first safety gate you consider should be to protect baby from falling on the stairs. When babies are first learning to crawl and walk, they are unsteady and do not have good judgment on distance and height. A curious baby can easily take a tumble down the stairs, sometimes with fatal results. Experts recommend gating stairways at both the top and bottom with wall-mounted gates.

Expert Tip: If you don’t have a wooden frame or casing in your doorway, mount a small piece of wood to the wall where you plan on attaching your baby safety gate. With constant use, it’s easy for screws to be stripped from your drywall. Firmly attaching a piece of wood to the wall and then attaching the gate to the piece of wood will help your gate and wall last longer and be safer.

Pressure sensitive gates should never be used for protecting the top of the stairs. If baby exerts pressure, there is a great risk that the gate could be jarred loose resulting in a fall, with both the baby and the gate colliding. Baby gates are generally recommended for children, age 6 months to 2 years old. Many parents choose to keep them for longer periods of time, especially if you have stairs. Some kids walk in their sleep or remain only partially awake when they take a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

More Safety Gate Options and Tips

Measure twice and buy once. Getting a good fit is crucial. A gate that is too small offers no protection and one that just fits at its maximum width will not be as strong and reliable as one with more “wiggle room”. Extra wide safety gates are available and recommended in this case.

Baby safety gates come with a variety of locking mechanisms. It’s best to try them out to see which mechanism you are most comfortable with. For the person who has everything, there are even remote control options. I personally like the safety gate lock operated by foot. I often have my hands full. I’ve also found as my children grow, they are still not heavy or strong enough to open this type of gate on their own, keeping them just where I want them. It seems to baffle most of our adult guests as well.

It is not uncommon for safety products to become the subject of their own recalls and can, at times, be a hazard to children. Look for gates that your child cannot dislodge but that you can easily open and close.

We all like to save money and get things second hand, but it's best to buy safety gates new. We also recommend getting a gate that is JPMA-certified and following the manufacturer's mounting instructions carefully. Give yourself plenty of time the first time you install one. An electric drill is usually needed.

Going to Grandmas?

Whenever you’re in a new environment, you baby will love to explore. When friends and family don’t have small children, small and enticing items are left around without a second thought. It’s easy to forget how many things are within reach of baby, such as crystal collectibles, door stops and other choking hazards. To keep baby safe, bring a safety pressure-mounted gate or two with you! You can put them at the bottom of the stairs. Between that, a playpen, a little extra travel vigilance, you can feel assured that everyone will have a good time and tragedy will be avoided.

Finally, remember that a gate is not a replacement for adult supervision. Properly install and use gates. Safety gate experts remind us that keeping a close eye on your child is still required.

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