How To Choose The Best Baby Gate
Once your baby starts crawling, baby gates become a childproofing essential
The good news is, now parents have more safety gate choices than ever. There’s a solution for just about every space! But all these options make it harder to choose. But choosing the best baby gate for each space doesn’t need to be complicated. First, identify the areas in your home that need to be gated. Then, for each doorway or opening, run through this four-step process.
Determine the Size and Shape of the Space
Safety gates can be divided into three broad categories, based on size and functionality:
- Standard Baby Gates
As their name implies, baby gates fit standard interior doorways, adjusting from about 30″-45″ wide.
- Extra Wide Baby Gates
These wider safety gates are ideal for barricading larger spaces, such as in homes with open floor plans. Most extra-wide baby gates consist of a basic unit, plus extension panels you add as needed.
- Specialty Baby Gates
Rule of thumb: measure each space before you shop. Invest a few minutes upfront, and you spare yourself aggravation later.
Determine Your Best Installation Option
You’ll find you have two basic installation options:
- Wall Mounted Baby Gates
Also called hardware mounted gates, wall mounted baby gates are those you permanently screw into studs in your home’s walls. For this reason, they offer the greatest strength. The trade-off is that they’re more complex to install and leave holes behind (which you can patch over later).
- Pressure Gates
Also called pressure mounted gates, pressure gates can be installed and removed easily. No tools or holes needed; they work by exerting pressure against the walls, like tension rods. They’re convenient, but not as sturdy as hardware gates.
Rule of thumb: When it comes to gating stairs, wall mounted baby gates are a must. Pressure gates are a good choice when barricading rooms on the same level.
Determine What Style Appeals to You
Baby gates have come a long way in terms of appearance and can complement your décor. You can choose from:
- Wood gates with light or dark finishes
- Contemporary metal gates
- Economical plastic gates
- Unobtrusive clear gates
- Retractable mesh baby gates
Tip: You’ll be looking at your gates for some time (safety gates are intended for babies and toddlers age 6-24 months). So choose a style you can live with for a while.
Determine How Your Gate Will Be Used
When choosing between features, consider what kind of activity your gate will see every day. For example,
- For high-traffic areas, you might want a swing gate that offers a two-way walk through.
- If you’ll be carrying laundry or groceries through the area, consider a hands free or auto close gate.
- If you have a tall or adventurous child, an extra tall safety gate will provide greater security. (Gates should be at least three-quarters your child’s height.)
- If you do a lot of visiting, or if your child will frequently stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, portable gates will make those visits safer and more relaxed.
Additional Baby Gate Selection Tips
- Avoid gates with slats more than 2?” apart. Little hands and feet can get trapped between wider spaces.
- Be wary of using older second hand gates. Accordion-style gates with large, diamond-shaped openings are especially dangerous.
- We offer a large selection of pre-tested safety gates, and we make our descriptions as detailed as possible. Our customer service representatives receive training on safety gates, so if you have any questions, just ask!
Now you’re ready to shop for baby gates!
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