When it comes to choosing the right safety gate and installing it correctly, these are the tips you need to know.
Most baby gates are adjustable or expandable. This should make finding the perfect fit easy, but it can actually make things trickier.
Before buying, measure the height and width of the area you want to block.
If you’re using a pressure-mounted baby gate, be aware that many appear to be warped or curved. But this is an intentional design feature that ensures a proper, solid tension fit.
To install retractable baby gates on banisters, hollow walls, or iron railings, purchase a special gate installation kit to ensure a safe, sturdy fit.
Make sure the slats on your gate are less than three inches apart to prevent little arms and legs from getting stuck. You can avoid this concern altogether by purchasing a gate without slats, like our number three pick above.
And don’t forget about your four-legged family members. Pets can also get stuck in an opening between slats, so keep their heads and legs in mind when measuring as well.
Beware of unusual spaces in decorative baby gates. Users of this gate report rambunctious puppies and kitties getting their heads stuck in the bottom of the gate where the bars stop.
Before you leave your baby to play near a safety gate, give it a test run to ensure everything is working properly—especially it's guarding your fireplace or Christmas tree.
After the gate is installed, test how sturdy it is. You want it to remain firmly in place no matter how much pressure your child places on it.
Check all locks and latches to make sure they work correctly. If you have older children in the home, teach them how to properly lock and unlock the gate so that no one accidentally leaves it open.
If your gate has a self-locking latch, test it to make sure it securely locks each time.
Many baby gates include walk-through doorways that can swing both ways. This makes it easy for grownups to seamlessly move from room to room, but it can present a hazard for babies and toddlers—especially if the gate is used by stairs.
Gates placed at the top of the stairs should only swing away from the stairs. Child stair gates that swing out over the stairs can lead to an accidental spill if your little one somehow gets the gate open.
If you have a baby gate with a walk-through door that swings both ways, make sure you can lock it into the appropriate swinging position before placing it atop the staircase.
To be extra safe, only place gates with doors that swing one way at the top of the stairs.