Baby gate safety is an important topic that parents should spend some learning about especially if you are new to parenting. You have probably never had to worry about installing a gate around your home so we're going to tell you all about it so you can help keep your adventurous loved ones safe.
The world of safety gates for babies, children and pets is a big one and can be confusing heading in but we promise that if you do your homework (continue reading) you'll find a gate that works for your unique home design, children and lifestyle.
The biggest complaint from parents about gates is that they either don't fit, don't work, difficult to install or they're just a pain to use. It's true that some gates require a bit more time and know-how to install but some are as easy to use and require only a turn of a dial.
What's important is that you find a gate that will keep your child or children safe while being easy to operate so it actually gets used. The best baby gates are the ones that work properly and are also easy to use for parents so they don't become such a nuisance that they don't get used.
The absolute first step in finding the right baby gate is to take a broad look at your living area and the potential hazards and areas you want to keep your baby out of that are practical.
It might seem like you want to gate off every room in the house at this point but here are the areas you should consider that pose real dangers but not limited to the following:
As you work through your home try to find junctions where you can install a gate at a doorway or narrowing. Consider areas of high traffic and where you plan on spending time with your child or children. After you have a general idea of what you need it's time to take a look at your baby gate safety options.
Keep in mind that rooms with doors can be secured and kept out of bounds by handy door locks. The bathroom, laundry room and bedrooms are common places where locks do the trick just fine.
At this point you want to consider a practical place for your gate and hopefully it's in a doorway that isn't too wide. The most common gate width will cover an opening between 30 - 40 inches which is more than enough for most doorways.
The standard door width in most homes is 30 - 36 inches measured from the inside of the door frame.
If your doorways or hallway is wider than 40 inches there are some gates that include expansion kits but are usually limited to around 12 more inches. The upper end of stand-alone gate widths is about 60 inches and are classified as a "wide gate" which we will discuss below.
Now that you know where you want to put your gate and the size you will need it's time to look at your options. Each style of gate has it's own pros and cons and we'll outline them for quick reference. Keep in mind that a gate should only be used until children are about 2 years old or tall enough to scale even the best gate.
A pressure mounted gate fastens to door frames and hallways quickly and easily and stays upright with pressure much like a shower rod. They are ideal for small babies that won't attempt to climb the gate and as a visual barrier because they can't be relied on with substantial pressure from a baby or pet.
Pressure mounted gates can be effective if they aren't relied on heavily and should only be used for small babies. Some models feature walk through doors that can be easily maneuvered by parents with one hand. You should never walk over a gate as this can give your baby ideas the next time you take your eye off them for a second!
As far as baby gate safety goes this type of gate is definitely the most important you will install in your home. When you want to block the top of the stairs it needs to be a wall mountable gate or hardware mounted gate. This means that instead of using pressure which is unreliable you will be screwing the brackets into the studs in your wall and the gate will fasten to the brackets.
If the top of your stairs has banisters or posts there are separate mounting kits that can be purchased that are designed specifically for this task. Just be sure that the kit is compatible with the gate you purchase and will also fit on your specific banister.
This type of gate is without question the most reliable when installed correctly and is recommended for any complete baby gate safety plan. It will have either a walk through gate section or the entire gate will swing away from the stairs allowing parents to walk through with usually a one-handed operation lever or latch.
An extra wide baby gate is perfect for really wide areas that need to be sectioned off that are a lot wider than the average door or hallway. They really create a lot of options for securing your home and making it safe because they can be used in just about any room in your home.
They are hardware mounted and come with a walk-thru gate section that will prevent baby from getting through but allow parents to open and close quite easily and often only require one hand to operate. Most extra wide or super wide gates can also be used as portable enclosure or play yard that acts a large playpen.
If a play yard or a playpen is something you are considering be sure to check out our playpen for babies page.
A retractable gate is made out of a durable mesh fabric that can be pulled or retracted from the main casing to open and close the gate. The lever is designed to easily be opened by parents but very difficult if not impossible for babies and toddlers.
Since they are retractable they will fit any size opening up to the limits of the manufacturers which means they are not only versatile but don't take up a lot of space.
There is no question that this style of gate is attractive and looks clean and trendy. As far as baby gate safety goes this type of gate is somewhat new but their versatility make them a great option.
A lot of pet owners use a gate to keep pets sectioned off to certain parts of the home whether its because they are a bit too excitable, they shed or anything else. As a parent of a baby that is crawling or a toddler that is learning to walk there are some similarities and you may end up using a gate for your baby and pet.
A handy option is a baby gate with a built in pet door that will allow your small pet through but it won't allow baby. It's important to always test the gate out as some smaller babies can be creative and fit through the small pet door.
An extra wide pet gate with small pet door is a viable option for parents with pets but it's important to ensure that baby can't get through the gate. They are available with extra-wide, walk-thru options so you can be sure to find exactly what you need. Baby gate safety is often correlated with pet safety and this option solves two problems in one.
A baby gate mounting kit is sometimes necessary to attach a wall mounted or retractable gate. If you are placing a gate in a hallway or doorframe that is angled or at the top of stairs adjacent to railing banisters you might need a separate kit.
It's important to investigate whether the gate you purchase requires additional mounting hardware there's nothing worse than not having all the parts required to get your gate up especially if it means you are compromising your overall baby gate safety.
Gates are designed to be installed in the most common areas and manufacturers won't send extra parts of course to save money. If you are in doubt you might consider another option or hiring a professional to make sure the gate is installed correctly. The overall baby gate safety is dependant on the installation so make sure you take the time to get it done right otherwise you could be doing more harm than good.
A wall saver is designed specifically for pressure gates and not only help reduce damage to your walls it also makes your gate sturdier and subsequently safer. The wide surface area of the wall saving device distributes the pressure evenly so you don't get unsightly marks and even dents in your wall that can appear over time.
With repeated use, pressure gates can leave marks that are not only time consuming, but also expensive to fix. This affordable little device is worth the money if you plan on using a gate for several years to come.
A wall saver is arguably a must-have for anyone with a pressure mounted gate. The downside of pressure gates is that they can fall over if they aren't fastened with enough pressure. This device allows you to increase the pressure without worrying about damaging your walls or finish.
Baby gate safety is something that needs to be taken seriously and with all the options available we are certain you'll be able to find something that gets the job done.
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