When you have a baby, safety is priority No. 1. As you babyproof your house, finding the best baby gates is definitely a must. Baby gates are designed to section off spaces or rooms to prevent babies and toddlers from getting into dangerous places, like staircases and kitchens. Statistics show more than 3 million children experience an unintentional household injury every year, ranging from steam and hot-liquid burns to falls and poisonings.
Parents usually start installing gates when baby reaches 6 months, since this is typically when babies are on the move and ready to explore like Dora. But if baby is on the go sooner, then you’ll want to start looking for the best baby gates earlier. Some children are savvy enough to open and close baby gates at age 2, so many parents go gateless at this point. Remember, children develop at different rates, so use your discretion when deciding what works best for your home.
Types of Baby Gates
Baby gates are anything but child’s play. As you shop for the best baby gates, you’ll discover that there are several types, each with its own pros and cons. When making your purchase, there are several factors to consider. There are plastic, metal and wooden baby gates, to name just a few of the materials available. When you’re searching for the best baby gates, consider where you’ll be using the gate before deciding on the mounting style. For stairs and other uneven surfaces, a wall-mounted gate is your best bet. If you’re using the gate on a flat surface like a doorway and want something easy to remove, a pressure-mounted baby gate will work well.
- Hardware-Mounted Baby Gates. Hardware-mounted baby gates are securely attached into the framing of the walls of your home. There’s a bracket that’s installed into either a doorframe or the frame behind the walls to secure the gate in place so that it won’t fall over. Avoid just screwing the baby-gate mount into the drywall or plaster alone, because that won’t guarantee stability. Statistics show that every six minutes a child in the US is treated for a stairs-related injury, so it makes sense to find the most secure option available. Hardware-mounted styles are recommended as the best baby gates for stairs, because when installed properly the risk of them toppling over is much smaller than pressure-mounted ones.
- Pressure-Mounted Baby Gate. Pressure-mounted baby gates use an expandable spring system to lock the gate into place by squeezing it between two walls or other surfaces, creating pressure to hold it in place. There are usually rubber pieces on both sides that help to secure the gate in place and protect your walls. When you’re looking for the best baby gates, even the best pressure-mounted model is not recommended for staircases of any type because the gate could topple over if not secured properly. Rather, pressure-mounted baby gates are best suited for areas that are level and flat, like doorways.
Whichever style you choose, be sure to check with the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association to make sure that the best baby gates you buy are certified for safety. This site, as well as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, can also let you know if there are any product recalls.