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Choosing A Baby Safety Gate

By Kenneth Taylor

Once your baby becomes mobile, rolling over or beginning to crawl, it’s definitely time to start baby proofing your home and perhaps the most important baby safety product you’ll need is a baby gate. Buying a baby gate may sound like a simple task but the variety of gate styles and home configurations can make it one of the more confusing purchases you’ll make.

Head over to your local baby store or visit some online merchants at and you’ll see an array of baby safety gates in different sizes and styles. You’ll find gates made of wood, metal, or plastic; gates that open with the touch of your hand, the step of your foot, or not at all; and gates that attach to the wall with screws or simply use pressure to hold them against opposite walls. Making sense of all these varieties can be a daunting task. Essentially, the correct baby gates for your home will depend on where they will be placed and how they will be used.

1. Stair Gates – In terms of your baby’s safety, nothing is more important than a stair gate. Stair gates should be placed at the top and bottom of all accessible staircases and only hardware-mounted gates that need to be screwed into the wall and/or stair railing should be used. To be sure a baby gate is meant for staircase use, always check the description or packaging. Most manufacturers will state if a gate is safe to use on stairs and include instructions on how to correctly install it. For your convenience, stair gates should be the kind that swing open and closed and can be unlocked with one hand. Gates that open with the step of your foot should probably be avoided on staircases, as the awkward footing required to open these types of gates can be unsafe.

2. Pet Gates – If you’re trying to keep your pet away from your baby, the type of gate you choose will depend on the type of pet you have. Most standard pressure-mounted or hardware-mounted gates will do just fine. However, if your pet is especially large, strong, or agile, you may want to purchase an extra tall gate that can be hardware-mounted. A hardware-mounted gate will ensure that your pet cannot push it over while leaning or jumping against it while the extra tall size will be more difficult for your pet to jump over.

3. Gates for High Traffic Areas – For your convenience and safety you should use a baby gate that can be easily opened and closed in areas that are frequently used. Whether it opens by hand or with the step of your foot is your preference and while it can be, it does not need to be hardware mounted. This type of gate will be more expensive, but a semi-permanent (non-opening) gate that you need to step over or remove each time is quite a hassle and also quite unsafe if you’re stepping over it while holding your baby.

4. Gates for Low Traffic Areas – Almost any type of baby gate can be used in rarely used rooms or areas of your home. Simple pressure-mounted gates that do not swing open are likely to be the least expensive option is these cases. Though the gates will need to be removed when you need to enter the room, it’s not likely to be much of an inconvenience if the area is rarely used.

5. Specialty Gates – There are baby gates for nearly all applications, from blocking fireplaces to closing off rooms with large openings. In these instances, just be sure to measure exactly the dimensions you need and look for a gate with the proper fit and purpose.

One thing to remember when choosing any safety gate is to always measure the width and height of the opening you need to close off. Since gates come in various sizes, it’s easy to get caught up in choosing the gate style and end up with something too large or too small for your needs. One more thing to consider is that not all walls or doorways will be perfectly straight. Gates that can be adjusted at the mounting brackets or pressure pads will be necessary in those cases.

If you follow those basic suggestions, you’re sure to find a safety gate that fits your needs and, above all, keeps your baby safe.

About the Author: Kenneth Taylor is a new father and an editor for the Binky Links Baby Store and Information Directory. For baby gates and other baby proofing products, please visit the Binky Links list of Baby Proofing Stores.

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