Baby gate shopping can feel overwhelming with so many styles to choose from and with every home having different needs, you’re going to want to find a gate that fits your life the best.
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Safe And Sturdy Gate For Baby Options
Pressure mounted baby gates are convenient because you don’t have to worry about screw holes and you can section off different parts of the house as well as throw it into the car to take to grandma’s house. They should NOT be used at the top of the stairs.
Play Yard Alternative
When it comes to baby safety, a must-have item in your home is a baby gate. Whether you have a small set of steps that could use a gate or a set of long steps that needs a baby gate at the bottom and at the top, you’ll be sure to find the best baby gate for your home from our list.
We review baby gates based on ease of opening, gate location (upstairs, downstairs, hallways) and sturdiness.
You should never use a regular baby gate near the stairway as they are too difficult to undo, leaving you in a more difficult situation than if you didn’t have a baby gate up there at all.
To learn more about baby gates and how you can use them around your house to keep your baby safe while still maintaining and certain ease, keep reading.
The Best Baby Gates For A Safe Home
This trendy yet safe Summer Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate is easy on the eyes and has many advantages and safety features too.
This baby gate is an easy to use walk-through gate and uses a pressure mounted system, with the option to purchase additional hardware to use as a hardware mounted gate at the top of the stairs.
This gate stands at 36″ tall and can fit openings between 28 and 48 inches. There is a dual locking system and an auto-close door which closes behind you as you walking through.
There is a bronze and a white color options and it is easy to install.
The biggest downfall of this baby gate is that the hardware for hardware mounting does come separately.
|Installation:||Pressure or Hardware|
|Lock Style:||Auto close|
|Best Placement:||Pressure mounted – main floor, Hardware mounted – top of stairs|
When you are looking for a top of the stairs baby gate the Evenflo Secure Step Metal Gate is an excellent option to keep your baby safe.
This gate fits most standard stairways and measures 30 inches tall and can cover widths between 29-42 inches.
The vertical bars can keep your baby from being able to climb the gate and the easy glide handle ensure the gate can be opened with one hand.
There is a red/green indicator lock that can let you know at a glance if the gate is locked or not.
The gate can also swing open in either direction.
You can use this gate in all areas of your home and it is made from a metal material.
|Lock Style:||One hand open easy glide handle|
|Best Placement:||Top of stairs|
For style and safety the QDOS Crystal Baby Safety Gate is a great choice.
Made with a piece of clear commercial grade perspex this baby gate can be pressure mounted or hardware mounted in any place of your home.
If your space is wider that 39 inches then additional extensions can be added which go up to 48 inches. There is a glow stop so you can see the bottom bar during the night and avoid tripping.
This gate can also be mounted at an angle, making it an ideal gate for odd shaped spaces.
With an easy magnetic lock and an at a glance indicator you can see that the gate is shut properly without having to check manually.
To keep the clear plastic clean, just use a damp cloth and little bit of soap, and you’ll have see through plastic after your little one puts their sticky hands on it in no time.
|Installation:||Hardware mounted or Pressure mounted|
|Best Placement:||Stairs or main floor areas|
The Munchkin Auto Close Pressure Mount Baby Gate is a great fit for most homes as it fits most doors. There is an option to purchase an additional extention is required which can open the gate up to 54″.
This gate is made from metal which makes it durable to withstand toddler damage and the dual locking handle ensures that little ones won’t figure out how to open this gate so quickly.
The gate can swing open both ways and it automatically closes behind you and locks up.
This is a standard, easy to use walk through gate and additional hardware can be purchased so you could use this at the top of the stairs if you like.
A lot of parents love this gate so much, they bought it more than once!
|Lock Style:||Dual locking handle|
|Best Placement:||Anywhere but the stairs unless you purchase extra mounting hardware.|
The Toddleroo by North States baby gate is an excellent budget friendly gate that meets safety standards and has great features that make it a good choice for families.
This gate is hardware mounted and is adjustable to fit 26-48.75″. Available in a bronze color finish, this baby gate will fit the decor in most homes.
The gate does swing open fully and and swings closed and auto locks too.
Effortlessly open this baby gate with one hand and enjoy the fact that there is no threshold for you to trip over.
|Best Placement:||Stairs or anywhere around the house|
This is a portable baby gate that is great for travelling with your little one.
Since it is not a hardware mounted gate it is no suitable for the top of stairs.
This little gate only weighs 4 pounds and has a drawstring bag for easy transport. You can stash this gate in a suitcase without struggle.
Parents reported that this gate does not leave marks when unistalled and the installation process itself is quite painless.
The release mechnisms are located at the top and bottom of the gate to remove and replace the gate.
Extra parts can be found the on the manufacturer website.
|Lock Style:||Quick-release latch|
|Best Placement:||Anywhere in the home that is not at the top of stairs|
North States Superyard – Baby Gate Alternative
The North States Superyard is a suitable baby gate alternative for parents who may not have any stairs at home but want to keep the baby isolated from certain areas of the house.
It is also suitable for playing outside in a safe space and it is so easy to take with you anywhere you go and easy to assemble that you can use it in the park too.
You can keep a baby contained in a 7 foot area from the age of 6-12 months. It isn’t really suitable for children older than 12 months.
The versatility that this play yard provides is great because it is nice to have options and be able to keep your baby in a safe space whether you are inside or outside the home.
Some parents have recorded that the plastic edges can be a little bit sharp for little fingers, so please be aware of this if you purchase this product. This is the case with many plastic gates and can be fixed by speaking with the manufacturer about a replacement panel.
|Installation:||Snap together panels|
|Width:||Encloses up to 34.4 square feet (over 7 feet across)|
|Best Placement:||Inside or outside the home|
How To Choose A Baby Gate
Why Do You Need A Gate For Your Home
If you’re here thinking that baby gates are not necessary baby gadgets, then let us tell you exactly why baby gates are a must-have accessory for your home.
The short answer to this question is: YES you absolutely need a baby gate. It is essential when the baby becomes mobile.
Here are the best reasons why a baby gate is a must have:
- Baby can fall down the stairs: The first reason that a baby gate is essential may be the most obvious and it is that the baby can fall down the stairs and seriously injure herself. You must block access to any stairways in your home, whether they lead to the basement, the porch or connect to the second level, stairs are the bane of active crawlers and early walkers. You should install a baby gate at the top of each stairwell and at the bottom as well. Kids will try to climb over the gates and could end up falling back down.
- Babies will get into everything and anything: If you have any rooms in your home that are no baby proofed and don’t have doors, then you’re going to want to block them off with baby gates. Keep your little one out of those dangerous rooms that may have loose wires (computer room) or unstable lamps and trinkets (teenagers room).
- Babies need a safe space to play: Yes we want to keep our little ones out of dangerous rooms, but we also want to provide them with a safe space to play that has been baby proofed. This can prevent parents from chasing the baby around the house, trying to keep them out of harm’s way. This is where the alternative to the baby gate comes in: The play yard.
- Keep baby safe from pets: Baby gates can keep your baby and your pet separated for their safety. If you have large animals then you may want the dogs to stay in a different room while the baby plays to keep them from trampling the baby by accident.
- Babies are curious: If you have a fireplace or some exercise equipment that need to be blocked off, a baby gate can be used to block off just those dangerous places and not the entire room if you like. A baby gate system that can simply be wrapped around these items can be a great way to give the baby more freedom to roam around the home safely.
- Kids love to climb: Babies turn into climbers very quickly and some baby gates have some spaces where little toes can get into which help them climb over the gate. You may want to look into baby gates that are difficult to climb over just in case your little one is extra adventurous.
- They want to go where you go: Babies will want to follow you everywhere you go and if mom needs to go to the basement to throw in a load of laundry, the baby may not be allowed to follow. A baby gate can help keep the baby upstairs (even they are upset that they cannot follow mom) so mom knows the baby is safe and sound while she quickly finishes the laundry task.
So do you need a baby gate? ABSOLUTELY. It’s just a matter of which kind of gate you should choose that suits your home the best.
Types Of Gates For Baby
The style of baby gate that you choose for your home will vary greatly on the style of the stairs, rails, walls and other features.
For example, you may want to stay away from a pressure mounted gate if you are attempting to place a baby gate on a thin stair rail. It simply won’t work (safely).
You’ll also want to choose if you’re going to step over or walk through the gate and how often you’ll be doing so. If you’re going to be holding a baby and trying to step over a gate at the top of the stairs on the way down, you’re making a non safe decision that can harm your baby.
When choosing a baby gate you’ll want to keep some important features in mind which brings us to our next most frequently asked question!
Features To Look Into
Baby gates are all created with different features in mind. Some important things to consider when purchasing a baby gate is the ease of installation, the fit for your space, and how sturdy the design is.
Keep all of these things in mind when figuring out which baby gate is best for you.
Gate Spacing: What we mean by spacing is the spaces on the gate slots. They should be less than 3 inches apart to prevent little arms and legs from getting stuck in between the bars. A gate with a plastic telescopic rail can also help prevent accidental pinches too. Slat distance should be labelled on the manufacturer’s manual.
Height: We don’t want your baby to climb over the gate so the ideal height is a minimum of 22 inches tall. You won’t really need a baby gate past age 2.5/3 but it’s a good idea to ensure they can’t easily climb over the baby gate by themselves.
Width: Every gate is different when it comes to width to ensure that every home can have a safe gate to keep babies out of trouble. Measure your home space before you shop around for a gate to ensure you’re not buying something that is too small or too wide for your specific needs. Some gates offer extender packages, usually sold separately if you have a really wide space to fill.
One-handed opening: Because you’re going to have your hands full, it’s a good idea to choose a baby gate that has an easy one-hand open. You can avoid a lot of struggling and prevent accidents from happening by purchasing a gate that has a one-hand opening option.
Versatility: If you have spaces that aren’t exactly square, or you need to move your baby gate around the house once in a while ( or bring it to grandma’s house) then you’ll need some versatility when it comes to your gate. Some gates can only be pressure mounted, while others can be hardware mounted or pressure mounted. Some models can be mounted at an angle as well.
Price point: You can purchase a gate for $15 or for $200, and it all depends on your budget and your needs. Most households that like the one-hand opening and easy installation will spend around $100 on their baby gate.
Baby Gate Materials: Baby gates come in a variety of materials such as wood, plastic and metal but not all the plastics are toxin-free and can be unsafe for your baby. When looking into a plastic gate ensure it is PVC free and always ensure loose screws and sharp ends are not present.
Hardware-mounted: If you are looking for a gate for the top of the steps then a hardware-mounted gate is a much safer option than pressure mounted.
Pressure-mounted: Pressure mounted gates are best for doorways that don’t lead to stairs. You can use these gates to block off rooms that aren’t used very often and you don’t want the baby to get into.
JPMA certification: Always look for baby products that are certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. They have strict safety standards and can help ensure you are getting the safest products for your little one.
Baby gates are very helpful in keeping your baby safe, but it is the parent who can keep the baby safe by keeping an eye when they become mobile.
Frequently Asked Questions About Baby Gates
When is it safe to stop using baby gates?
Baby gates are really needed for the early crawling stage to keep curious babies safe while they are learning the world around them. Around the age of 2-3, you may notice that you no longer need the baby gates up any longer.
What type of baby gate is best for stairs?
You should only use hardware-mounted gates when it comes to stairs. Hardware mounted gates are secured by screws, making it impossible for babies to simply push the baby gate and fall down the steps. You’ll also want an easy opening for the top of the stairs so you’re not stepping over the gate with a baby in your arms.
How do you install a baby safety gate?
All baby gates will come with manufacturers’ instructions that you should follow. The hardware mounted gates will use screws the safely secure the gate to the wall where as the pressure mounted gates do not require screws. Pressure mounted gates can be pushed by a toddler and popped out if not mounted properly and are not suitable for the top of the steps.
Where should I put up baby gates?
You should be putting baby gates anywhere in your home that you want to keep the baby out of. You also need to add a baby gate at the top and at the bottom of the stairs.
Can baby gates be used outside?
Some baby gates are perfectly fine for outside use. We recommend a baby gate outside if you have a taller deck that requires steps to get into the yard or if your patio is a frequent play space and you want to keep the baby on the patio to play.
What’s the tallest baby gate?
The Dreambaby Chelsea Extra Tall Auto Close Security Gate is 39.4” tall. It does come quite narrow, so you may need additional pieces for wider openings.
Baby Gate Safety Tips
If you’re going to go through the trouble of purchasing a baby gate to keep your baby safe, it’s important to follow baby gate safety rules. Babies have been known the get sprains and strains and even brain injuries due to baby gates that have not been installed correctly.
This doesn’t mean that baby gates are not effective, it just means that parents have to be extra careful when installing the gates and ensure that they are secure and installed properly.
To avoid common baby gate safety mistakes, here are some tips for you.
Get the right gate for the job: As we have mentioned a few times in our article here, do not put pressure mounted gates at the top of the stairs. A child can push the gate and fall down the stairs. A hardware mounted gate can prevent all kinds of injuries for gates at the top of the stairs. You’ll need to add a few holes in the wall but it is a much safer way to ensure your babies are safe in your home.
Follow Instructions: Even if you know how to put together a baby gate, reading the manual is important. It is easy to put parts on upside down and backwards, and mistakes like this can make your baby gate essentially useless.
Don’t Make your own: We have all seen the Pinterest worthy DIY baby gates, but they have no safety guarantees to them and therefore should not be used for children. For pets, however, they may be just fine.
Put them at the top and bottom of steps: Curious babies will want to climb stairs up as much as down and putting a gate at the bottom of the steps as well as the top can prevent your baby from crawling halfway up and feeling stuck and unsafe when they cannot make their way down safely.
Don’t install your gate too high off the ground: Sometimes parents want to ensure the cat has space to get under the baby gate or want to avoid damaging the baseboards but this can lead to a baby gate being installed too high off the ground. Babies could crawl under the gate if it is installed too high, so it is best to keep the gate less than 3 inches off the ground the prevent injuries.
Don’t leave the gate up too long: When kids can climb over the gate to get to where they want to go, the gate becomes ineffective. This is a good time to get rid of the baby gate and let your child learn to use the steps without it. If you need the baby gate for younger siblings, then teach your child how to operate the latch on a hardware mounted gate and avoid the pressure mounted gates by the stairs.
Don’t stack two baby gates on top of each other: If children can climb over the baby gate, this doesn’t mean you should get another one and put it on top of the original gate. This is very unsafe to do and can lead to serious injury or death.
When To Install Baby Gates
Before the baby starts to crawl is the best time to install a baby gate. Most babies start crawling between 7 and 10 months of age and therefore you should think about installing a baby gate by month 6.
Babies progress quickly and before you know it, your little one will be too quick to catch and can move across the room in the blink of an eye.
Gates are really important if you have any amount of stairs in your home.
You should be putting a gate up at the top and at the bottom of the stairs to avoid visits to the emergency room and always ensure you use baby gates that are screwed into walls or handrails, especially at the top of the steps.
to keep babies out of rooms that are not baby proofed and have no stairs, a pressure-mounted gate will work just fine, just ensure that the pressure bar is located on the side that the baby is not usually on.
It is important to use a baby gate that bears the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification label and to install the gate according to manufacturer instructions to avoid mistakes and ensure the gate meets all the safety standards once installed.
Older baby gates are not safe due to the openings being wider than 1 1/2 inches which means babies’ arm, legs or neck can become trapped and cause serious injury or death.
Ensure your baby is safe by installing a new and safe baby gate by the time your little one turns 6 months old and you’ll be doing an awesome job as a parent keeping your little one safe.
Tips For Baby Proofing Your Home
For our best baby proofing tips, you need to check out the ultimate baby-proofing house checklist where we go over how to baby proof every single aspect of your home in great detail.
Here are some basic materials you may need to baby proof your home:
- Baby Gates
- Safety Latches For Cabinets
- Door Knob covers
- Outlet Covers
- Blind Cord Wraps
- Safety Brackets For Tall Furniture
- Corner Protectors
- Fire Extinguisher
- Car Seat
- Sun Shades
You should add all the safety measures to your household before your little one starts to crawl because you can never be sure when your little one may encounter a hazardous situation.
Before bringing your infant home from the hospital you’ll want to ensure the house is already set up with safety measures in place. Experts recommend getting the house safety ready for the baby’s arrival three months before she comes home.
(This post contains affiliate links. Our full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here.)