How To Choose a Baby Gate. Read these 12 most important checkpoints carefully. Then you can easily make decision while buying a baby gate for your home.
Babies are curious little creatures. It’s a known fact. A baby on the action will try to reach for everything that can catch their attention, whether in the kitchen, the garden, down the stairs or up the stairs.
Therefore, using baby gates for stairs and baby safety gates can make your life much easier by keeping your child safer from stairs and hazards when you are not watching.
Moreover, baby safety gates and baby gates for stairs can also be used to separate your child from the pet (or vice-versa).
Because children can be rough on your animal, it can be a good idea to keep them separated when you are not around.
Baby gates for stairs and child safety gates are intended for children less than 6 24 months of age because older children can quickly figure out how to escape from the gate.
To be safe, baby gates for stairs and baby safety gates should be user friendly for an adult but should also be designed to prevent children from opening them. There are two basic types of child safety gates, and only one type should be used as baby gates for stairs.
The two basic types differ in how they are installed.
BABY SAFETY GATES HARDWARE-MOUNTED
Baby safety gate hardware mounted are permanently mounted and should be the only type of gates to be used as baby gates for stairs. They require screws to be installed in the stairway or the doorway. Holes are drilled in the door frame, stud behind the wall or on the stairway ramp.
Then the gate is attached with brackets and screws. Because they are sturdily fixed, hardware-mounted gates are considered the most secure choice. Those baby gates often come in enamel-coated steel, vertical wood or aluminium tubing slats with top and bottom rails.
Use. You should use baby hardware mounted gates: As baby gates for stairs, at the top of the stairs. Because they are safer, those models are mainly intended for stair locations, although you can use them anywhere else in the house.
Some baby gates for stairs will swing open one way (away from the stairs), and others will allow you to choose in which direction the door will swing if you intend to install the gate at the bottom of the stairs.
Installation. Holes are drilled into the door frame or through the drywall or plaster into the wood framing. Baby gates for stairs can be removed when you need the opening free.
BABY SAFETY GATES PRESSURE-MOUNTED
Unlike the baby safety gate hardware mounted gate, the baby safety gate pressure-mounted needs no screwing and drilling to be installed.
The baby gate is held by pressure against the door frame or the walls. Those baby safety gates sometimes have two sliding panels that allow you to adjust the gate to fit the opening or sometimes come in a swing-style with a gate door that swings open.
A pressure mechanism then keeps the children pressure-mounted safety gate in place; therefore, no drilling is necessary.
That type of kids safety gate often comes in vertical wood, enamel-coated steel, aluminium tubing slats, plastic, wire, nylon mesh, or plastic-coated wire. Some models are even made of transparent plastic so you can watch your baby through the gate.
Use: IMPORTANT: Not to be used as baby gates for stairs. This is serious. That type of gate is not considered safe enough to be used on top of stairs.
However, pressure-mounted gates can safely be used in less hazardous locations, such as between rooms. They are used to separate two areas with same-level flooring, for example, between the kitchen and the dining room to avoid baby crawling baby under your feet when cooking.
Installation. Simply adjust the baby safety pressure-mounted gate to fit the opening and squeeze it in place with the pressure or locking mechanism wedges. This type of gate leaves no permanent damages.
Freestanding Baby Gates
Freestanding safety gates are not recommended for use at the top of a stairway. However, Freestanding gates can be used at the bottom of a stairway and can be useful when you have a more modern house and have no door frame or wall to install hardware mounted Baby Gates For Stairs.
The advantage. You do not need to install the gate, therefore no wreckage of the wall or doorframe. Also, freestanding gates are very portable and can be used in other room, indoors or outdoors.
What safety features should I look out for when buying a stair gate?
The safety of gates depends on solid construction, reliable hardware, and the absence of entrapment hazards.
- Buying new or second hand?
Although you may be tempted to buy second hand Baby Gates For Stairs, it is usually preferable to purchase a new stair gate. However, if you decide to go for a second hand Baby Gates For Stairs, make sure that the gate is in good condition and that there we no recall of the products since its release on the market.
Also, make sure that the second hand Baby Gates For Stairs you are purchasing was made after 1985, as products made may not respect today’s safety standards. Older chairs can be hazardous.
For example, the slats may be too far apart, allowing the baby to put their head in between, or may have a structure that would allow the baby to climb on it, therefore giving the baby the chance of passing over the Baby Gates For Stairs.
- Height. A minimum of ¾ of your child’s height is recommended to discourage the child from climbing over the gate.
- Installation flexibility. How odd is the area where you are going to install the gate? Stair balusters, angled banisters, drywall with no wood framing is all places you might have to deal with in your house. Sometimes you may need to purchase a specific installation kit for these areas and adjust the gate to fit the wide openings.
- Latches. Many gates have a dual-action latch that can be opened with one hand by an adult, and some models have a foot pedal that requires intense pressure to release. This last model of baby safety gates and baby gates for stairs is fully hand-free and can be very useful when carrying groceries or other packages.
Moreover, some models such as the Evenflo SimpleEffort Plus Hands-Free Electronic Gate, a pressure-mounted gate that can be safely used as baby gates for stairs, can unlock at the push of a button on a wall console or remote control.
However, with the Evenflo SimpleEffort Plus Hands Free Electronic Gate model, you may need to wait about 6 seconds to be able to relatch the gate. To open the gate, you won’t have to put your baby down. Batteries are required to use the hand free option.
The North States Auto-Close Metal Gate – Pressure Mount, a pressure-mounted type of gate, closes and locks automatically with a bit of shove and can be opened by an adult with one hand.
- Sound and colour. Several toddlers safety gates have an audible click when they shut, telling you that the door has been properly closed. The Safety 1st Perfect Fit Gate and the Evenflo SimpleEffort Plus Hands Free Electronic Gate have a colour indicator that shows that the gate is locked.
- Lights. The Safety 1st Smartlight Stair Gate features a motion sensor night-light. Hence, this baby safety gate glows when you approach it! A convenient feature for many parents at night.
- Travel. Some pressure-mounted models can be used for temporary situations to increase safety around your child. Those models, such as travel models, come with a carrying case. The Evenflo Crosstown Soft Portable Travel Gate is a good example. They can be used in a hotel room, when vacationing, or in a relative’s home, making the place more child-friendly.
- Swinging doors or sliding doors
Baby Gates for Stairs come with rolling doors, swinging doors or sliding doors. If purchasing a sliding door, ensure that everybody will close the door after coming up or going down the stairs.
If you choose to purchase a swinging door gate after installing the gate, make sure that the doors swings open away from the stairway, as the baby will not be able to open the doors.
If someone comes up the stairs, that person will be in the way of any baby who would try to slip through the open door, therefore stopping the baby from falling.
Therefore, always make sure that a bracket or some specialized device can stop the gate from opening over the stairs. Keep your stairway secure with Baby Gates For Stairs that opens in only one direction, away from danger.
- Vertical slats
All models should respect safety standards that require vertical slats. However, if you purchase a second hand Baby Gates For Stairs, make sure that the model comes with vertical slats. Horizontal slats can provide a way for a baby to climb up the gate, making it very hazardous.
DOS AND DON’TS
THE PROPER USE OF SAFETY GATES
- DO select a safety gate that is JPMA or ASTM approved. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for mounting the gate and ensure the gate is secure when installed.
- DO test the locking mechanism to make sure it works properly every time you use it.
- DO get in the habit of closing child safety gates all the time, even if your baby is sleeping safely in his crib. This will help prevent you from forgetting to close the gate when your baby is nearby.
- DO use a mounting kit unless you are mounting the gate to a wooden door frame or another flat wood surface.
- Do install your baby safety gate as soon as possible-before your child is mobile.
- DO consider the total length of time (and the number of children) for which child safety gates will be needed. Select a gate that will best withstand time and constant use.
- DO follow manufacturer’s instructions concerning when to remove safety gates. (Most recommend that gates be removed at age 2 to 2 1/2 or when a child is tall enough to climb over them.)
- DO. Be careful and remember to always close all safety gates, especially walk-through gates, as the threshold could be tripped over.
- DON’T use a pressure-mounted gate at the top of the stairs.
- DON’T use older style, hand-me-down safety gates.
- DON’T climb over child safety gates. This provides children with behaviour to imitate.
- DON’T use pet gates which usually have square mesh openings that are easy for tots to climb.
- DON’T leave your kid alone or rely on a safety gate to keep him or her safe.
This article provides information on how to reduce the possibility of injury, and the products discussed are designed to help you create a safer environment for your children. Installing and using the recommended products correctly will increase their effectiveness. There is no substitute for adult supervision.
Michael lima is graduate architect from the university of California. He assists homeowners to improve their homes through his blogs.