Guide to finding the right Baby Gate
There are many types of safety gates on the market, and it can be confusing
determining which one you might need. There are many factors involved
such as location, frequency of use, mounting type, aesthetics, size, and cost
Types of Baby Gates:
Hardware mounted gates attach to walls and banisters with hardware
and screws. They are the most secure type of gate. They are ideal
for the top of stairways, but can also separate rooms. They are available
in wood or metal of various colors to match your décor. They
vary in size and have add-on extensions for wider openings. They can
be mounted between two walls, two banisters, or a banister and a wall. All
latch securely, but are designed for easy adult use. Hardware mounted
gates must be mounted to a solid surface, and not a hollow wall. If
a wall stud is not present where you need to mount the gate, a gate mounting
kit will be needed for anchorage. Often times tall baseboards will
interfere with the installation of a gate and it will also require a gate
Pressure mounted gates are easy to install, and are great to block
off doorways, and hallways. They expand to fit the opening width and
secure with tension against the sides of the opening. Never use
pressure gates at the top of a stairway, because it is possible for some
children to dislodge them. There are portable pressure gates available with carrying cases for use on trips away from home.
Walk-through Gates are comprised of a fixed section, and a swinging
door portion (walk-thru). Walk-through gates come in many sizes and
may extend up to 20 feet or more with extensions. They come in hardware
mounted and pressure mounted versions. Some can be configured in irregular
shapes to fit individual needs. All walk-through gates have a bottom
threshold and feature one-hand latching. Walk-through gates are not
ideal for stairways but are most often used in doorways to separate rooms,
or to block off large openings.
Steps in selecting your gate:
- Location: If it is going to be used at the top of a stairway,
use a hardware mounted gate. If blocking off a room, use a pressure
or walk-thru gate.
- Size: Measure the width and height of your opening. Determine
if a standard size will work. Most gates come with extension kits for
- Mounting: Determine if you need mounting kits for circumstances
such as a hollow wall, banister, wrought iron railing, etc. Kits are
available to create a proper mounting surface or to eliminate holes at wood
- Finish: Choose between metal or wood, in a color appropriate
for your home.
Tips for Baby Gates:
- Use only gates which have a vertical slat design. Gates constructed
with square mesh provide footholds for baby to climb the gate.
- Beware of expandable wood gates with a diamond shape mesh. They
are climbable and can pinch fingers.
- Consider installing the gate for the bottom of a stairway in the hallway
or foyer leading to the stairway. Installing here may be easier and better
- Choose a gate which is JPMA or ASTM certified.
- Don’t use a pressure mounted gate at the top of a stairway.
- Resist the urge to climb over gates. Children will imitate this behavior.
- Always secure the gate latch every time you use it.
- Follow the manufacturers instructions concerning installation of the gate,
and at what stage of development to remove a gate.